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Have You Been Injured By A Defective Product?

Hardly a day seems to pass without the introduction of some new product designed to make life easier or more convenient. However, products do not always live up to this promise. In addition to ease and convenience, some products endanger the people who use them. Cases based on the claim that a product is dangerous or defective are known as "products liability" cases.

Companies that manufacture or sell products generally have a legal duty to make sure that the products are free from defects that present an unreasonable risk of harm to consumers. If a product is dangerous or defective, an injured consumer may have a products liability claim. There are as many different kinds of products liability claims as there are different kinds of products. The sale of contaminated food, the manufacture of improperly wired electronics, and the marketing of disintegrating tires can all support a products liability claim.

The defects giving rise to products liability claims can occur in a number of different ways, including:

    • products that are well designed but poorly made, such as the new TV that catches fire when plugged in because the wires were installed improperly;
    • products that are well made but poorly designed, such as an SUV whose wheels are too close together, causing it to tip over on sharp turns;
    • products that are well designed and well made and that are safe if used properly, but which lack warning labels telling the user how to use the products safely; or
    • a misrepresentation or breach of a warranty or promise about a product, regardless of whether or not the product was well designed or well made.

    Unlike other kinds of injury claims, a consumer making a products liability claim usually does not have to show that the manufacturer was careless in making and selling the item. The injured consumer simply has to demonstrate that his or her injury resulted from an unreasonably dangerous condition of a product and that the condition existed at the time the product left the manufacturer's control. This is known as the "strict liability" rule.

    For example, in an Illinois products liability case, Martin was injured when a grinding wheel he was using exploded and pierced his leather apron, breaking his thigh. He sued the manufacturer, claiming that he was injured by an unreasonably dangerous condition of the grinding wheel. The manufacturer claimed that Martin misused the wheel because he operated it without a safety guard. The Illinois court ruled in favor of Martin, who was awarded more than $270,000 for his injury.

    Just because a product is involved with an injury does not mean that the product is unsafe. Before a user can recover under products liability law, the product must be unreasonably dangerous. For example, car accidents often result in injuries or death, but not every injury suffered in a car accident leads to a products liability claim. Instead, a claim would arise only if the car was "unreasonably" dangerous, such as a car whose gas tank explodes when it is rear-ended.

    Products liability is a complex area of law. If you have been injured by a defective product, make sure to retain qualified legal counsel.

    © 2011 Lucas Law

    This website is not intended to constitute legal advice or the provision of legal services. By posting and/or maintaining the website and its contents, Lucas Law does not intend to solicit business from clients located in states or jurisdictions outside of Illinois wherein Lucas Law or its individual attorney(s) are not licensed or authorized to practice law.

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