Injured by a Product? It Might Not Be Your Fault.
Have you ever bought something, thinking it would be a wonderful product, only to have it not work out quite as well as you expected it to? This happens to everyone at some point, and in most cases, the defective product doesn’t cause any major problems; at most, you’ll be mildly inconvenienced by having to go to the store to either return or exchange the product. But sometimes defective products can cause serious harm to the consumer.
When a consumer is injured by a defective product, their cases fall into one of three categories: a product was manufactured defectively, a product is defective by design, or a manufacturer failed to provide adequate warnings about a potential danger a product poses.
If a product is defectively made, this means there is an unintentional manufacturing error, which might not occur in every other instance of a specific product. For example, a batch of cough syrup might have been made with an incorrect proportion of ingredients or a bike might be sold with a faulty brake. When something is defective by design, that means there is a flaw in the overall design of a product which makes it more dangerous than it needs to be. Failure to warn cases are exactly what they sound like: a manufacturer neglects to provide sufficient warnings about potential hazards a product poses, particularly ones that would not be expected or obvious to an ordinary person.
To have a successful product liability case, you need to be able to prove a defect directly caused your injury. If a motorist drives a car that has a reputation for being involved in rollover accidents and the car rolls over after hitting a median, but the driver was texting at the time of the accident, the driver would have a hard time winning a product liability case because the accident could have been avoided if the driver had been paying better attention to the road. But if a person with heart problems is suddenly hospitalized after taking an over-the-counter medication as directed, but the medication shouldn’t be taken by people with heart problems and there are no warnings about that on the packaging, that person would have excellent grounds for a failure to warn product liability case.
You also have to be able to prove you were using the product as it was intended to be used when you were injured. A manufacturer can’t be held responsible if a person uses a product improperly or in a way a manufacturer wouldn’t expect a reasonable person to use the product. If a person is injured by a pair of ordinary scissors breaking while using them to cut a piece of paper, that would be a proper use of the product. But if a person is injured by that pair of scissors breaking while trying to use them to cut through a piece of concrete, that would not be proper usage.
If you have been injured by a defective product, be aware that you have a limited amount of time to file a case. This time limit varies from state to state, but in Michigan, you have two years from the date the injury occurred.