When it comes to product defects, the first things that come to mind might be mass produced goods. Many may remember the national Tylenol recall of 1982, prompted by product tampering that killed seven people. In 2014, General Motors recalled 30 million cars due to faulty ignitions that resulted in 124 deaths. And then there's the Takata air bag recall that continues today.
Products liability is a relatively new area of law and cause of action (a cause of action is a valid legal reason to hold someone accountable for some action or inaction). Products liability was created as a result of the mass production and sale of items. People were injured spread across the country. Unfortunately, because there are so many steps from raw material to finished product and eventually sold on a shelf, that there is no way the victim can ascertain which party is ultimately responsible. The result was that the various defendants would play a shell game, confounding victims and frustrating the administration of justice.
In our last post, we addressed the topic of how defects in manufacturing can create a dangerous product and give rise to a legal action based on product liability. The overall subject of product liability is complex, and we cannot cover all of its aspects in a single post. This entry, therefore, will address a different foundation for a product liability claim: design defects.
Suffering an injury as a result of a dangerous or defective product is something that too many people have experienced. For example, in July we posted about a product recall of artificial knee implants based on alleged manufacturing defects that affected thousands of people. This post provides some additional information on how medical devices can trigger claims of product liability.