WHAT IS PRODUCT LIABILITY?
Poorly designed or manufactured products like phones, tools, cleaning products, and even toys and kitchen utensils can cause serious injury or even death when
they are unable to function properly or have adverse health effects on the consumer.
Defective products impact 1000’s of people every year, as the release of a defective product onto the market can have far reaching consequences before the greater
public becomes aware and the appropriate recall measures take effect. Lead in children’s toys, combusting batteries,and unintended side effects or reactions from
medical and personal care products are just some well known examples of product liability cases.
Because a product passes through so many hands on the way to the consumer, you can file a product liability claim against the manufacturer, distributor, or retailer of
the product. You can also file a claim whether or not you are the person who purchased the defective product, or you are an innocent bystander.
Famous Product Liability Cases
When large corporations cut corners to save costs, the consumer ends up paying the price. Often, a civil suit can be the only means by which the average person can hold these companies accountable.
1992: Liebeck vs McDonald’s
Stella Liebeck sued McDonald’s after recieving third degree burn to her pelvis when accidentally spilling a coffee from the restuarant on her lap. The case was
a media sensation, and many did not take Liebeck’s claim seriously in spite of the severity of her injuries. A jury originally awarded Liebeck 2.8 million dollars, but McDonald’s continued to appeal the verdict,dragging the case out for years.
1999: General Motors
GM was sued by 6 people who sustained severe burns due to a faulty gas tank in the 1979 Chevrolet Malibu, which exploded if the vehicle was hit from the rear. The plaintiffs collected 4.9 billion dollars. An investigation showed that the fuel tank was located only 11 inches from the rear of the car, causing it to rupture and ignite on impact, and that GM had placed it there knowing it could cause an explosion rather than pay the extra cost to place it somewhere safer.