When Products You Buy Cause You Harm

No doubt we are a consumer driven society. Millions of products in every industry imaginable are produced every year. As a public, our expectation is that the products we by are safe to use. Further, we expect that manufacturers, distributers, and retailers have a responsibility for the reasonable wellbeing of consumers when their products are used as intended and in a sensible way. Often, the sad reality is that consumers fall victim to faulty, poorly designed, or poorly made products. Tens of thousands of injuries result from defective or dangerous products every year.

What is Product Liability and how can it help?

When products you buy cause you harm, legal liability for personal injuries and property damage caused by those products is known as product liability. If a defect in a product causes an injury you can sue the both manufacturer and the retailer in Oregon.

Anything that is a manufactured product can be subject to a product liability claim if it hurts somebody and the sky is the limit on the type of products that cause injury. Famous examples abound – Side saddle gas tanks on Chevy trucks, firestone tires, medical devices, medications, asbestos – The list is endless.

However, most cases are individual lawsuits rather than big class action suits. When Products You Buy Cause You Harm, you still have to show that the product was dangerously defective or unreasonably dangerous. Obviously there are some products that you can’t make so that they’re useful and won’t hurt you – like a knife or saw. So there is always a value judgment about how the product might have been made safer.

Types of Product Defects

We classify product defects into 3 different types.

1) First, there are design defects where the product was defectively designed, meaning that something in the design is inherently unsafe. The problem exists in the product even before it is manufactured.

2) Next, there are manufacturing defect s where the product was designed correctly, but it was put together wrong so it had a hidden defect in it. An example is a bolt that holds the wing on an airplane that had a microscopic crack in it. The wing falls off and kills everybody on the plane. Now, if the bolt didn’t have the microscopic crack it would have never broke, but it did – that’s a manufacturing defect.

3) The third type of product defects are warning defects. This happens when the manufacturer fails to adequately warn users about hidden dangers or to provide instructions for proper use of the product for consumers to be able to use the product safely. A passenger side airbag kills a child in the front seat, but no warning was ever given about the dangers of the airbag to small children sitting in the front passenger seat. This is an example of a warning defect.

These types of defects form the legal basis or grounds for filing product liability cases in Oregon.

Proving the case

I have a current case involving a construction man lift that took off all by itself. Who knows what’s wrong with it but something’s wrong with it. It hurt somebody. So we need to examine that product and find out that was wrong with it. Was it a design defect, a manufacturing defect or was the person who was maintaining the lift responsible because they didn’t inspect or maintain it properly. Who was responsible for the injury? – It’s a question we need to investigate with expects.  This is how we approach these product liability cases.

Every single case takes investigation. There are very few product liability cases that don’t take expert analysis and expert witnesses. That’s what a product liability lawyer does – he gets experts involved to analyze the product to determine whether it’s defective.   

Getting Help

Product liability cases are very complicated. Making sure that your defective product claim includes all of the basic elements required in Oregon can be tricky. If you or one of your family members has been harmed by a potentially defective product, you should contact an attorney experienced this specialty. Our founding attorney, Brian R. Whitehead, has the experience to handle complex products liability claims. With over 33 years of legal experience, he is an accomplished negotiator and trial lawyer, ready to put his skills to work on your behalf.

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