Product Liability

Thousands of tort lawsuits or product liability claims against manufacturers of harmful products are filed in courts all across the US every year. Obviously, despite quality standards, so many products, which are defective or poorly made, still get displayed in stores and sold to millions of American consumers who completely believe that everything they purchase are safe and without defects.

Some of the injuries and deaths, and defective products which have been traced and documented by the United States Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) include the following:

  • 220,500 toy-related injuries in 2006
  • Development of blood clots which, eventually, led to the death of a number of young women who used the Ortho Evra® birth control patch
  • The 2003 recall of nearly 30,000 electric blankets which, when folded or bunched, had a tendency to overheat and burn the user
  • Dell’s 2005 recall of about 200,000 laptop batteries, which showed risks of overheating and causing fire
  • Toyota’s 2006 recall of more than 1.4 million of its cars due to defective parts

Millions of other products, from children’s food and toys to house appliances, vehicles, machinery, chemicals, and so forth, have caused either injuries or death to their users. Though a seeming failure on the part of the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, the branch of the government tasked to ensure product safety, total responsibility cannot be blamed on it, though. This is due partly to the limits in its jurisdiction plus the billions of different products made available in the market every day. Thus, checking and ensuring product safety need to be a concerted effort by the different branches of the government, as well as active participation of the public in reporting products that are defective and harmful.

The Bureau of Consumer Protection, however, encourages consumers to forward to it any complaints on product defects for it to have a basis to conduct an investigation about the product n question and file legal complaints against the manufacturer if the product is, indeed, proven defective and a possible cause of harm.

“Prevention is better than cure,” is one very applicable adage where product safety is the concern. For, though, a person injured due to the use of a defective product may be legally awarded compensation from the liable manufacturer, there is no telling what the extent of such injury can be; thus, rather than suffer any harm, making sure that manufacturers comply with government safety standards to eliminate the possibility of their product causing harm on anyone will always be the much better alternative.