Injury by consumer products is almost always unexpected and traumatic. Customers and patients trust the products they buy and rely on will work properly. When a negligent manufacturer or retailer plays a role in harming a consumer, those victims deserve representation and justice.
Injury from medicine, electronic devices, vehicles, or other products is sometimes due to a defect in manufacturing, or because the product wasn’t properly designed or labeled. These injuries can also occur when a manufacturer or distributor didn’t share the right instructions or safety advice. In these cases, the manufacturer or retailer of the product may be negligent in their duty to the consumer.
However, in the day and age of online retail, the specifics of which laws and quality standards can be applied to products are more difficult to determine than ever. This is why those injured by bad prescriptions, faulty medical products, or other dangerous consumer products need an experienced Indiana product liability lawyer to represent them and build a case. Here’s some of what you might want to know about injury or wrongful death caused by product defect in Indiana.
Product Defect Injury Statistics
The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission keeps record of many of the product-related injuries and deaths in the US. Their records document everything from generator-related carbon monoxide incidents, to toy defect injuries, to pool and spa suction entrapment injuries. This also includes fireworks injuries and infants and toddlers being injured by nursery products. You can even use their website to report an unsafe product.
Medical product related injuries and deaths are reported to the Food and Drug Administration, and account for many more cases than other consumer products. In 2016, a study by Johns Hopkins estimated that at least 250,000 wrongful deaths occur due to medical errors, making medical error the third leading cause of death in the United States. This includes everything from prescription drug defects, to faulty joint replacement implants, to pain management devices that are not installed properly, and more. You can use the FDA website to report faulty medical products and devices, though there are requirements for an incident to qualify as reportable.
Product defect suits in particular are viewed in a negative light by many, but without these landmark cases, manufacturers and distributors of faulty products will not be held accountable for quality standards and duty to care. Read more about some specific types of these cases.
Pharmaceutical Drug Defect Injuries
The manufacturers of prescription drugs and over-the-counter drugs all have specific duties to the consumer. These include the duty to label products accurately, and clearly disclose all warnings and known potential side effects. Even when a manufacturer has been compliant in this duty, the practice of off-label prescription can still cause the drug manufacturer to be negligent.
For example, Zofran was approved by the FDA to remedy nausea in chemotherapy patients. The drug company then began marketing Zofran to pregnant women for morning sickness. But later, it was found that Zofran could cause birth defects. The drug company was ultimately found liable because they were promoting the off-label use of a product even though it had never been tested on humans for morning sickness. This is just one example of the way an experienced personal injury attorney would consider a manufacturer of prescription drugs might be negligent in their duty to the patient.
Medical Product Defect Injuries
Manufacturers of medical devices like hip implants, knee replacements, and intrauterine devices (IUDs) also have duty to test their devices before release. They also must make sure training and information is available to educate care providers about installing the products. Lastly, they have a duty to warn about all potential side effects of the devices, and to react as new side effects become known.
For example, shortly after the contraceptive device Essure came on the market in 2002, the manufacturer, Bayer Pharmaceuticals, began to receive wide reports of severe complications in patients. From metal allergies to device migrations into the pelvis and abdomen, the Essure device continued to have devastating consequences for patients nationwide for decades until it was finally taken off the market. This is one example of how a medical device manufacturer can be considered negligent or even knowingly malicious in their acts toward patient consumers.
Motor Vehicle Manufacturing Defect Injury
Motor vehicle manufacturing defects have claimed many lives and caused many more severe injuries over the decades. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has determined the following to be some, but not all, of the defects that might require a recall from the manufacturer:
- Steering components that break or stick
- Fuel system components that are susceptible to crash damage
- Wheels that crack or break
- Engine cooling fan defects like blades that break off
- Faulty windshield wiper assemblies
- Inadequate jacks or ramps that may cause injury during repair
- Air bags that deploy when they are not needed, or that fail to deploy when needed
- Car seats and seat belts with components that present hazards, even while not driving
In all these instances and others the manufacturer has a duty to inform consumers of the recall. If the recall is not issued, or proper steps are not taken to alert the customer and correct the issue, the manufacturer of the vehicle could be considered not meeting their duty.
Defective Industrial Equipment Injury
Industrial equipment is usually encountered in certain types of industrial workplaces. Factories sometimes have machinery that can cause serious injury or death to the workers who operate them. Products like conveyor belts, saws, sanders, lathe machines, boilers, forklifts, bulldozers, valves, and other equipment must be manufactured, installed, and maintained to certain standards. If the manufacturer or retailer does not share these with the employer, they may be partially at fault for injuries by industrial machinery. The same is true at construction sites. For example, a defective crane, defective scaffolds, unsafe saws and nail guns, malfunctioning backhoes and other construction equipment can cause serious injury and death if not built and labelled properly.
Defective Consumer Products Injury
The Consumer Product Safety Commission also tracks fires caused by faulty consumer products and electrocutions caused by faulty consumer products, among other injuries and damages caused by consumer products. Many far-ranging and unexpected incidents could result in injury or wrongful death, including:
- Defective oven, defective dryer, or other household appliance
- E-cigarette injuries like Juul™ causing popcorn lung
- Cell phone injury or other lithium-battery device injury
- Holiday decorations and décor like strings of lights, lamps, and products made with harmful paint or other toxic and low-quality materials
- Defective toys, electronics, or vehicles like bicycles, scooters, and ATVs
- Clothing or costumes that may be flammable
Contact Indiana Product Liability Attorneys
These are just some of the examples of how the malfunction or failure of a consumer product, medical device, vehicle, or other item may be related to negligence somewhere in the supply chain of the product. The support and insight of experienced consumer rights attorneys is important if you think manufacturer negligence led you to be injured by a product.
Contact the experienced Indiana product liability attorneys at Christie Farrell Lee & Bell to meet a team of advocates that wants to hear your story and help you achieve peace of mind.
Read more about Indiana Product Liability: