How Is a Product Determined to be Legally Defective in Texas?
You assume that all the products you use at home, work, or play are designed with your safety in mind. No one thinks that a manufacturer designs a product to fail or cause injury, but injury happens all the time. Therefore, the makers of automobiles, children’s products, sports equipment, and many other companies have their products recalled.
This is at the core of the Texas product liability law, which tries to protect consumers against defective product design or manufacturing. Product defects have a direct relationship to personal injury claims, since the injuries from these products can cause minor to extremely severe injuries. This is where a product liability lawyer can help.
Legally, there are three distinct categories of product defects. Simply, they are:
Manufacturing Defects: Substandard manufacturing processes or an error in production can cause a product to be defective. This type of defect can have numerous causes, such as worn-out or old machinery, human error, or possibly the conditions under which the item was produced.
Any part that is made using a faulty mold, the wrong materials, or even a worker not correctly doing his or her job, can cause a product or critical part to fail. Cost-cutting, manufacturing expediency, or failure of a business to keep up its equipment, etc. can all contribute to your injury, due to these defective products.
Product Design Defects: A design defect is not an error in the manufacturing of the item but in the design and engineering of the product itself. Even if this product is manufactured properly, the product still may cause you injury. This is because the design was never adequate for its intended purpose or possibly had inherent design elements that could cause injury. Here the basic engineering, materials used, and other designing elements would cause the failure.
Warning Defects: This can also be referred to as a marketing defect and refers to a failure to properly warn product users of any potential dangers in the actual use of the product. There are all types of products, no matter how well they’re designed and built, that have inherent dangers associated with their use. These inherent dangers need to be immediately obvious to the user of the product, and the manufacturer needs to specifically warn against them via labeling and detailed use instructions.
A simple example of this is the plastic wrapping used in all kinds of packaging. Even though the design and manufacturing of the packaging are fine, you still need to be legally warned of the non-obvious risk of suffocation. This example is simple and easy to see, but many are not. Equipment used for certain tasks (chain saws, nail guns, etc.) may cause serious injury or death, and their proper use needs to be specifically outlined by the manufacturer.
You begin to see that getting compensation for a defective product is usually not as simple as you may have thought. Discussing all the details of your case with your Edinburg or McAllen personal injury lawyer, experienced in product defect law, will be of immense help in getting the funds you need to recover fully and get back to your normal life.
How Do I Know if I Have a Product Defect Case & How Do I Proceed?
It’s especially important to note that under Texas law, if you have been injured by defective products, you have a limited time to gather evidence regarding any defects. The statute of limitations for defective product liability cases is 15 years from the date that the product was sold. If the seller guarantees the product can be safely used for a longer period, however, then this defense may not hold up in court.
There are certain exceptions for cases in which you, the victim, did not encounter the product within these 15 years or in cases when you developed a serious medical condition or disease that did not manifest symptoms during this period.
You, as the injured, may have had no idea that a product was defective until you sustained serious injury. Then, you will have a lot of questions, such as who can be held responsible and are you entitled to compensation. You and your Hidalgo County personal injury attorney will thoroughly review the circumstances of your case, analyze all the possible liabilities, and answer all your questions.
What Facts Do I and My Personal Injury Attorney Look for in a Product Defect Case?
Usually, product liability claims are presented to the Texas courts as personal injury claims. So, much of the time the same requirements will need to be met for you to receive the successful compensation that you deserve.
Some of these requirements are:
You, as the consumer, are owed a certain duty of care. This simply means you should reasonably expect the product will not cause you harm.
A person or corporate entity breaches that duty of care through negligence. In this example, the manufacturer of the product caused the defect.
The actual breach was the cause of your injury, as you were harmed by the defect.
You suffered serious damages as a result of the injury. These damages include those that are financial, physical, or emotional but may not be limited to them alone.
If these four conditions are found to be met, then you and your injury lawyer may have solid grounds for a claim.
In summary, these types of product defect injuries, unfortunately, happen all the time. With the right group of Hidalgo County injury attorneys by your side, you could end up with significant financial compensation for your physical and mental pain, as a result of the defective product.
Keep in mind that most companies are diligent, but you shouldn’t have your life altered because they betrayed your trust.
By Chris Brasure
Brasure Law Firm, PLLC was founded by Chris Brasure in 2006. His legal accomplishments are diverse and numerous. He is a fellow with the Texas Bar Foundation, was a delegate in the American Bar Association House of Delegates and holds a BA in political science and speech communication from Baylor University. He then went on to obtain his law degree from Baylor University Law School. Chris believes that education is absolutely critical to one’s success, so his firm now offers The Brasure Law Firm Scholarship to give back to the community and to help students who are seeking to pursue a higher education.