Manufacturers are required to produce products that are reasonably safe. They are required to give reasonable warnings. When they don’t, they are responsible for the harm they cause.
Types of Product Liability Claims
Products affect almost every area of modern life. Some provide transportation; such as bicycles, motorcycles, ATVs, cars, trucks, buses, boats, trains, and aircraft. Others help us to work; such as forklifts, conveyors, industrial machines and materials, and farm equipment. Even everyday products can be defective and cause serious personal injury; such as poisonous household chemicals, water and food, exploding cookers and other appliances, and dangerous lawn and garden equipment. Products we rely on for fun, our recreational and sports equipment, can fail surprisingly when we need them most. Healthcare products such as pharmaceuticals and medical devices can also cause serious harm and death. Defective building materials may present dangers to humans and/or cause extensive and expensive property damage.
Actually holding a manufacturer legally responsible, even for serious injury or death, however, is generally complicated and risky, and requires a significant investment of time, effort, and money. Very often, the manufacturer blames the victim, even when the product seemed reasonably safe to use. Manufacturers may choose not to publicize known defects and similar incidents, and force victims to enter secrecy agreements that deny liability if the injured want to settle their claims, leaving the public in the dark about a danger.
Products and their components are manufactured all over the world, may be subject to foreign laws, and sometimes need to be sued in foreign places. Products sometimes outlast the people and companies that designed, made, and sold them. Evidence may be hard or impossible to get.
Determining what went wrong may draw from almost any area of engineering and science. Manufacturers often have significant legal protections and huge resources to defend lawsuits. But they are not necessarily invincible.