Product Liability Accidents
It’s frustrating when a product is defective in a benign way, but sometimes a product’s defect can be actively dangerous – causing serious injury.
Dangerous or defective products can cause injuries, such as a propane tank that explodes and causes burns or other injuries. Sometimes the defect may result in an accident that leads to injury, such as defective brakes on a car.
Over the past several decades, a body of law has developed centered on the idea that consumers should be able to have an expectation that the products they buy are reasonably safe. When a product is defective in some way and causes an injury, product liability law allows the injured person to potentially recover compensation from the person or company responsible for the defect.
Cases involving defective products can be incredibly complicated. They involve not only complex legal ideas but often technical details that require thorough analysis to fully unravel. They may also involve multiple parties such as designers, manufacturers, distributors, and sales people, which can complicate questions of liability. For these reasons, it’s important when you’ve been injured by a dangerous or defective product to seek the help of an experienced Houston product liability attorney who understands how to build a strong case against the company or companies responsible.
At The Krist Law Firm, P.C., our lawyers have been on the forefront of Texas product liability cases for 40 years. We have represented numerous people who suffered serious injuries because of dangerous or defective products and helped shape the law in Texas for certain types of lawsuits involving defective automobiles.
It may seem like common sense to you that if a product doesn’t work, then it’s defective. However, when you file a lawsuit alleging that a product is defective and caused you harm, you must establish exactly how the product is defective and then link that defect to your injuries. There may be a few different sources of the defect in the product that injured you.
Manufacturing Defect — A manufacturing defect is one that occurs when the product is made or assembled in a way that results in the product being dangerous when used in accordance with instructions. An example may include a product that is made with substandard materials and when it is used it breaks in a way that causes injuries, such as a car that is made with substandard glass in the windshield. The glass shatters upon minor impact and causes disfiguring injuries to the driver and passengers. Another manufacturing defect could include a product that comes off the assembly line with missing or broken pieces or parts, and then goes to market that way, such as a table saw that is missing a needed safety guard that was supposed to be included. When the user operates the saw for its intended purpose, the user loses a finger.
Design Defect — A design defect, as the term implies, is one that occurs during the design phase of the product. A product is inherently dangerous when it is designed in a way that even when properly manufactured and used by the consumer in the way intended, it causes injury. In the table saw example, if the design itself never included a safety guard, the product could have a design defect.
Warning Defect — Some products must be operated with care even when designed, manufactured, and used with maximum safety in mind. To use the table saw example again, a saw is always going to pose some risk of harm to a potential user even when a safety guard is included. Products that may be dangerous even when properly designed and manufactured should come with a warning for the potential user that explains how the product can be used safely, or a warning that unintended uses that are reasonably foreseeable may be hazardous. Think about all of the products you’ve bought that have warning labels that might seem obvious or unnecessary. Those warning labels are included because the manufacturer knows that someone may use the product in that way — such as using a hair dryer in the bathtub — and some harm may befall the user. When there is no warning about reasonably foreseeable dangers, the product may have a warning defect.
Of course, a product may have some combination of these three types of defects, which can make for a complicated case. That’s why product liability cases should always be handled by an experienced Texas defective products lawyer who knows how to pinpoint all of the potential causes of your injury. By including all potential causes — and suing all potentially liable parties — your attorney can maximize your chances at receiving fair compensation for your injuries and losses.
If you or a loved one was injured or killed in a motor vehicle accident, you may be able to recover compensation for your past and future losses through a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.
Punitive damages may be available in some cases, although this is relatively rare and requires that you prove the company was willfully malicious in allowing the product to go to the market with a dangerous defect. Additionally, Texas places a cap on the amount of punitive damages you may receive.
When your lawyer files a product liability case on your behalf, there are certain steps that your case will follow. Those may include:
Product liability cases can be confusing because of their complexity, and because your lawsuit may be based on a legal principle other than negligence. In a dangerous or defective product case, your lawyer may argue that you deserve compensation based on one of the following legal theories of liability:
Breach of Warranty — This theory of liability is rooted in contract law and applies to the seller of a defective or dangerous product. In essence, a breach of warranty claim alleges that you and the seller had a contract — either express or implied — and the seller violated the contract. In this instance, the “contract” is the representation that the product is safe to use.
Negligence — When you claim that someone was negligent, you have to prove that they either acted unreasonably or failed to act in a way that was reasonable, and that their actions caused your injuries and losses. As the person making the claim, you bear the burden of proving negligence by a preponderance of the evidence, or in other words that it is more likely than not that the other person or company was negligent.
Strict Liability — Strict liability is a no-fault theory of liability and most often is applied to product manufacturers. You don’t have to prove that the manufacturer was at fault. You merely have to prove that the product was defective and that the defect caused your injury. You can sue a manufacturer under this theory even when the manufacturer took the utmost care in making the product. If the product went to market with a manufacturing defect, the manufacturer may be held strictly liable by a court.
However, even when your lawyer is able to prove negligence, breach of warranty, or strict liability on the part of the other parties in the case, your own actions may reduce the amount of compensation you can receive under the theory of comparative negligence. Comparative negligence simply means that you contributed to your own injuries in some manner, and that the compensation you receive should be lessened in proportion to your degree of fault. If you are found to bear more than 50 percent of the fault, you recover nothing.
A claim of comparative negligence may be based on:
At The Krist Law Firm, P.C., our skilled Houston product liability lawyers have extensive experience with defective product cases that gives us the detailed knowledge necessary to identify the liable parties in your case, build a strong case to prove their liability, and anticipate and battle any arguments by the other parties that you are at fault for your own injuries.
Sometimes the defect in a product makes it so dangerous that it may cause fatal injuries. When your spouse, child, or parent is killed because of a dangerously defective product, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit to seek compensation of your losses. In a Texas wrongful death lawsuit, you may be able to obtain compensation for:
Under some circumstances, you also may be able to receive compensation through a survival action for damages your loved one could have obtained if he or she had lived to file a personal injury lawsuit. Those may include compensation for your family member’s:
The loss of a family member is one of the most difficult events you may experience in your life. At The Krist Law Firm, P.C., our compassionate team of lawyers understands the toll that this kind of grief and loss can take on your life. We know that money doesn’t replace your family member, but compensation can help bring justice when your family member was killed because of a product that was allowed to go to market in a dangerous condition. Compensation also can help secure your family’s financial future in the wake of your loved one’s absence by ensuring the money is there to pay for your house or for your children’s college education.
The Houston product liability lawyers at The Krist Law Firm, P.C. are intimately familiar with the complexities and challenges of cases involving defective and dangerous products. We have brought numerous cases of this type to successful resolutions, and stand ready to fight to obtain the maximum possible compensation for your injuries caused by a defective product.
We know how these cases work and the arguments that designers, manufacturers, distributors, or retailers will make in order to avoid responsibility. We know the law and what evidence we’ll need in order to build a strong case on your behalf. We have the resources to pursue justice and fair compensation for your losses.
Contact us at to learn what our team of dedicated and skilled Houston defective product lawyers can do for you. We offer a free initial consultation and charge no fees unless we obtain compensation for you.