Products liability

Products liability

A design defect is some flaw in the intentional design of a product that makes it unreasonably dangerous, whereas, a product has a manufacturing defect when the product does not conform to the designer’s or manufacturer’s own specifications.

South Dakota products liability lawyer

The award-winning law firm of Gregory A. Yates, P.C., located in Rapid City, helps people throughout South Dakota who have been injured by dangerously defective products, receive the money damages they are entitled to. They can help you as well. Dangerously defective products, whether they are the result of poor engineering or poor manufacturing, can seriously injury or even kill the unwary. Not only should you, as a victim of a dangerous product, receive compensation for your injuries, but the manufacturers of those products should be compelled to remove them from the marketplace or fix them.

Representing seriously injured people throughout South Dakota. Call an award-winning products liability attorney today.

Products liability — an overview

Defective or dangerous products are the cause of many thousands of injuries every year. “Product liability law,” the legal rules concerning who is responsible for defective or dangerous products, is different from ordinary injury liability law, and this set of rules sometimes makes it easier for an injured person to recover damages.

Product liability refers to a manufacturer or seller being held liable for placing a defective product into the hands of a consumer. Responsibility for a product defect that causes injury lies with all sellers of the product who are in the distribution chain. Potentially liable parties include: the manufacturer; a manufacturer of component parts; the wholesaler, and the retail store that sold to the end consumer.

In general terms, the law requires that a product meet the ordinary expectations of the consumer. When a product has an unexpected defect or danger, the product cannot be said to meet the ordinary expectations of the consumer.

Consumer protection law and agencies

Numerous federal and state statutes, regulations, and safety orders concerning a variety of products might be helpful in proving a product liability case. Showing that a defendant violated a statute or other applicable regulation gives a plaintiff an outstanding advantage. In addition, legislation such as the Consumer Products Safety Act might provide for a direct civil action by an injured consumer. Also, there are specific federal statutes that address products such as aircraft, automobile equipment, boats and boating equipment, insecticides, medical devices, hazardous substances, highway safety, household refrigerators, packaging to protect children, mobile homes, motor vehicles, natural gas pipelines and occupational safety and health.

Manufacturing defects vs. design defects

Product defects are generally put into three categories: design defects, manufacturing defects, and marketing defects. Marketing defects are defects in the manner in which a product is sold. This type of defect can include inadequate warnings and/or instructions. Design defects are in a manner of speaking, intended. This type of defect is inherent in the design of the product. Manufacturing defects on the other hand are defects that were not intended.

Who is responsible for a defective product?

Most of the products we buy are safe. Some, however, are carelessly made or improperly designed. Poorly designed or manufactured vehicles can be dangerous, and can cause serious injury or death. An experienced products liability attorney is a necessity if you find yourself in this daunting situation.

Responsibility for defective products

The rules on who is responsible for a defective product, and what must be proven in court to hold them liable, vary from state to state. In most states, the parties who may held liable include:

  • The manufacturer
  • The designer
  • The manufacturer of component parts
  • Someone who modified the product
  • The wholesaler
  • The dealer or retail seller

Laws in some states provide that a retail seller or wholesaler may not be held liable for a defective product unless the product was manufactured to the seller’s or wholesaler’s specifications, or unless the seller or wholesaler modified the product in some way.

Special considerations in a product liability case

If you have been injured by a defective or dangerous product, it is important that you consult an experienced product liability attorney as soon as possible. Product liability cases are often quite complex, and will require an attorney’s expertise from the beginning in order to ensure all relevant evidence and potential claims are preserved. The following discussion describes some of the steps and considerations that will be taken in the preparation of a product liability action.