Finding the perfect gifts for your friends, family, and coworkers is one of the holiday season’s biggest challenges — so much so that people often overlook the potential hazards those gifts pose when standing in the check-out line or filling their online shopping cart.
Before you swipe your credit card for another gift this year, read on and learn more about the dangers of defective products as well as how to check for recalls or other safety issues before making your purchase.
Manufacturers Have an Obligation to Look Out for Consumers’ Safety
When we purchase consumer goods, we automatically assume they’re safe and effective. How could they have made it to the shelf if not? Yet every year, thousands of people get hurt by defective and dangerous products that slip through the cracks.
Some of the most common defective products include children’s toys, appliances, automobiles, and even furniture. Manufacturers have a “duty of care” under the law to ensure the safety of their products, which means they can be held liable when they violate that duty and someone suffers injuries because of negligent product design, manufacturing, or marketing.
The Most Common Risk Factors in Dangerous and Defective Products
Manufacturers are under a great deal of pressure to wrap up their production schedules before the holiday shopping season arrives. That pressure can encourage rushed manufacturing and shoddy quality control, which in turn can lead to mistakes in the form of defective and dangerous products.
Unfortunately, the manufacturers of children’s toys are no different, and children are often the most vulnerable to injury from defective products since they don’t have the same sense of caution as most adults. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) keeps an extensive list of known hazards posed by toys, and the following three safety hazards are the most common among recalled toys.
- Choking hazards
Many toys, especially those that require assembly, have small pieces that children could potentially choke on or swallow. Check the labels of all toys to see if they include such parts and try to purchase only pre–assembled toys.
- Laceration dangers
Metal and plastic toys that require a lot of action to play with can create a cutting hazard. And even toys that are softer and relatively stationary, like stuffed animals, have been recalled for causing lacerations. If you decide to buy your child a toy sword or scooter, teach them how to use these toys properly and make sure they understand the potential dangers when playing with them.
- Lead paint
In the U.S., it’s illegal to use lead paints for household products, including toys.However, imported toys and toys from less-than-reputable manufacturers can still contain lead paint. When children place these toys in their mouths, they’re unknowingly putting themselves at risk. Hundreds of toys with lead paint have been recalled in the past, so don’t purchase any toys or children’s products without verifying that they’re free of lead paint.
Before purchasing a toy or any other type of gift, it’s always best to check Recalls.gov and see whether the product in question has been subject to a recall.
RELATED BLOG ARTICLE: The Most Dangerous Children’s Toys
Three Types of Product Liability Claims
If you’re considering filing a product liability claim, it’s important to understand that you must not only prove the product that injured you or your loved one is defective but also show that this defect led to your injury or illness. Proving both of these elements can be a complicated process, and we don’t recommend that you try to undertake it without help from a lawyer.
Below, you can read about the three categories for product liability claims in Oklahoma.
- Defective manufacture
Products with a manufacturing defect have flaws in their construction that create a risk of injury or illness. In most cases, these products were designed correctly, but something went wrong in the chain of production. The error could be something as simple as a missing screw or as complex as faulty coding in an electronic system. If the manufacturer finds and corrects the error, the danger might be limited to certain lots and manufacturing runs.
- Defective design
With many defective and dangerous products, the hazards originate from shoddy and unsafe design. Once a product has been designed in an unsafe fashion, precise manufacturing can’t save it, and every item that rolls off the line will typically pose a hazard to consumers.
- Failure to warn or instruct
Manufacturers have a legal obligation to properly instruct consumers how to use their products and warn people about potential safety risks. When manufacturers fail to uphold this duty, theycan be held liable for any injuries or illnesses that result.
RELATED BLOG ARTICLE: Types of Defective Product Liability Claims
Filing a Defective Product Claim
If the product you purchased is faulty but not necessarily dangerous, you should be able to return the product for a full refund or repair. However, if a defective product inflicts injury or illness on you or a loved one, you could have grounds to file a product liability lawsuit.
The success of a product liability lawsuit usually rests on fundamental questions like:
- Is the product objectively unsafe based on its design?
Some products should never have seen the light of day because they contain obvious hazards or design defects. The companies who create and sell these products can and should be held liable for harm that results.
- Is the product unfit for its purpose?
When a product doesn’t work for its intended purpose, it can cause complications that may include illness and injury.
- Does the product match its description?
When consumers purchase an item, they rightfully expect that item to perform as advertised. When it doesn’t, injuries may result.
- Did you know about the defect before you brought the product?
Consumers who knowingly buy a defective product might shoulder some of the blame for any injuries or illnesses that result. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean the manufacturer can’t be held accountable for the harm they cause.
Product liability claims are some of the most complex legal cases, and sorting out the answers to the questions above requires a thorough investigation and analysis from trained experts. That’s why it’s always in your best interest to contact an experienced product liability lawyer right away when a defective or dangerous product causes harm to you or your family.
Contact Atkins & Markoff for Help Filing a Defective Product Claim in Oklahoma
If you or someone you know has suffered injuries due to a product’s defective manufacture or design, the dedicated lawyers at Atkins & Markoff are here to help. Our team has years of experience successfully negotiating and litigating product liability lawsuits, and if you’ve been injured, we’re here to listen to your story and assess your case at no cost to you.
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.