There have been many inventions and products over the years that help people in Texas with many different projects or actions. Some products are better than others, but overall life has become much easier because of these various products. Sometimes these products break though. This can be frustrating, but it can become a real big problem if the product causes an injury to the user. These injuries can be very serious and change a person's life.
Texas residents may have heard the term 'statute of limitations' before. They might also have a vague idea that it has something to do with when a case can be filed, which is generally correct. The idea behind a statute of limitations is twofold. First, it is to encourage that legal cases be brought expeditiously after an injury or event has occurred, so that the evidence and other information used in a legal proceeding is available and relatively fresh. Second, it is to take away a bit of uncertainty in the process, so that people and businesses aren't continually worrying about being sued for very old acts or omissions.
There have been many lawsuits filed in the U.S. over the last several years regarding a type of product known as 'trans-vaginal mesh.' Texas residents may be aware of this through news reports, or seeing television commercials seeking out people who have been injured by the devices. There are now indications that a similar product may become the subject of products liability litigation. That product is surgical mesh used mainly in hernia operations.
A few weeks ago, we discussed the concept of strict liability of manufacturers of defective products. That is, we talked about a part of civil law that allows consumers to hold makers of defective items placed into the stream of commerce liable even if they weren't negligent about doing so. We've also previously mentioned that sometimes the seller of a product may be liable if someone is injured by a defect. This liability is somewhat different from that which attaches to the manufacturer, as we shall see.
Today, many people are turning to using e-cigarettes as an alternative to smoking. The belief-however false-is that e-cigarettes are a safer alternative. As I discussed in a previous blog, this belief is not based in reality. E-cigarettes can cause an array of health ailments, including popcorn lung. In addition to harming your health because of chemicals, e-cigarettes can also harm you by exploding. News stories have been popping up all across the globe about exploding e-cigarettes.
When a Texas consumer is injured by a product that has been placed in the stream of commerce, that individual may have the right to compensation from a party who is responsible for the injury. To do so, the injured party generally needs to file a civil lawsuit making a claim under which he or she can recover damages. With products liability, the two most common claims are that the manufacturer or seller of the product was negligent at some point, or that one, or both, of these parties is strictly liable for the injury. We've previously discussed some of the elements of negligence in certain cases. This time, we'll take a very brief look at strict liability.
When you get into a car accident, you rely on your airbags to protect you. Sometimes, though, it can be the airbags that actually cause the injury. Recently, there has been a massive recall of Takata-manufactured airbags. These airbags are found in an array of different types of cars, including Honda, Mazda and Lexus. The reason behind the recall is that these airbags become unstable when there are temperature changes due to the use of ammonium nitrate in the airbags. These defective airbags have been responsible for the deaths and serious injuries of numerous people, and lawsuits are now being filed all across the country.
In a products liability case, a "design defect" is a problem or condition a product has that causes injury to someone who uses the product. A design defect is a problem with the product's design that makes the product inherently dangerous. This is even if it is manufactured perfectly and made of the best-quality materials.
A design defect is not to be confused with a manufacturing defect. A manufacturing defect refers to when a product is not made in accordance with the blueprints, plans or specs. To help illustrate the difference, let's look at two examples:
Everyone loves ice cream. And what's not to like? The sweet, frozen confection has been a staple for many American families for decades. One of the most popular flavors of ice cream involves the use of raw cookie dough; the precursor used by bakers to create another dessert staple. Unfortunately, however, one company's cookie dough, that has been used to make several types of ice cream sold in Texas stores may make those who eat it sick.
The history of law is replete with different ways in which to approach the responsibilities of parties when it comes to the production, selling and buying of products in the general stream of commerce. From the ancient concept of caveat emptor, or "buyer beware," to the more modern approach of implied warranties, the balancing of the interests of consumers against manufacturers and sellers has been a part of the legal framework of Western society for many years.