When you or a loved one purchases a product, you have the right to expect it to function correctly. Sadly, dangerous products injure or kill many consumers due to poor design, improper manufacturing, failure to warn, and other reasons. Each year, thousands of Americans file product liability lawsuits in the United States after their loved one has been injured or killed by a defective product.
If you are in the tragic position of losing a loved one in this manner, you could be eligible to file a wrongful death defective product lawsuit. If your case qualifies, our Nix Patterson wrongful death product liability attorneys could help you recover damages that help you move forward with your life and secure your financial future.
A defective product case leading to severe injury or death is where the victim or their family claims a faulty product caused harm. Defective product cases are filed for these reasons:
When there is a mistake in how a product is made, it is flawed and could injure or kill the user. For instance, an automotive manufacturer might make an error in installing brake pads on thousands of vehicles. If the brakes do not work correctly in an emergency, there could be a fatal accident. Your wrongful death attorney would investigate the possible manufacturing defect and attempt to prove that the defect caused or contributed to your loved one’s death.
Other product liability claims involve a defective design. A design defect differs from a manufacturing flaw because it is hazardous. It doesn’t matter how carefully the manufacturer makes a product with a defective design. For example, defective Takata airbags contained design flaws that have caused approximately 18 deaths and 400 injuries.
The manufacturer’s job is to warn the public about the potential hazards of their product. The company must also instruct each consumer on how the product can be safely used. If they do not provide the public with adequate warnings, it could be a failure-to-warn claim.
For example, suppose your loved one took a prescription medication that lacked a warning label. All medications in the U.S. must have warnings about serious side effects, such as not driving after taking a drug that could affect one’s ability to stay away. If the company neglects to provide sufficient warnings and there is an injury or death, the firm could be liable.
Listing every product that could contain defects and lead to death or severe injury is impossible. However, below are some of the most common product types that are often the source of wrongful death lawsuits:
The automotive field produces vehicles that can operate improperly and cause severe injury or death, including tires, brakes, airbags, and seat belts. Tires with a defective design can lead to tragic blowouts or tread separation that cause deadly accidents.
Improperly designed airbags could deploy too soon or not at all in a crash. For instance, Takada airbags have injured and killed thousands of people worldwide because of a design flaw that sometimes led the inflating airbag to spray deadly shrapnel into the driver’s face and body. Seat belts and brakes also play a critical role in automotive safety; a minor accident could turn deadly if they malfunction.
Medical devices can be miraculous products that add years to people’s lives and improve their health. But they may contain dangerous flaws that put lives at risk. Some recent medical devices that have killed patients include heart stents, pacemakers, and surgical meshes. Sometimes, the device manufacturer was aware of the risks but decided not to inform consumers.
These dangerous device cases sometimes lead to large payouts from medical device manufacturers. For example, a recent class-action lawsuit in Connecticut against Boston Scientific resulted in a $188 million settlement stemming from some of the company’s surgical mesh products. These defective medical device cases also often lead to large personal injury and wrongful death settlements,
Drugs made for medical reasons must be carefully tested by the manufacturer and approved by the FDA for human use. Sadly, some drug companies cut corners and market drugs without fully grasping their long-term effects. If a drug winds up causing severe injury or death to a patient, the family could file suit against the manufacturer and possibly the doctor for damages.
We all want to keep children safe from injury or death. However, some children’s toys contain dangerous defects that could be actionable in a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. For example, certain toys may have small pieces that break off, which are choking hazards for infants and toddlers.
Every state has laws stating who can file a wrongful death claim. For example, Texas law says that only the deceased’s spouse, adult children, or parents can file for wrongful death. A personal representative also may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim in Texas. Talk to your wrongful death product liability attorney to learn who can file in your state.
An experienced Nix Patterson product liability attorney has several options to show that the defendant company may be liable for wrongful death. Which of the following is appropriate for your case depends on the circumstances, product, and laws in your area:
In a product liability case involving death, the family has to prove the following points:
Whether the manufacturer, marketer, or seller was negligent in some states does not matter. The theory of strict liability could apply, meaning the company is liable for resulting deaths or injuries if the product is unreasonably unsafe or hazardous. If the company is strictly liable, the deceased’s family could pursue a wrongful death action against the distributor, retailer, or manufacturer. In Texas, for example, it is possible to pursue wrongful death damages based on the theory of strict liability.
A product liability case involving injury or death also could be pursued because of a breach of warranty. If your attorney can prove that the product warranty was broken or was false, you could pursue damages for your loved one’s death.
A severe or fatal product defect can occur in many parts of the supply chain, as well as in the manufacturing or advertising of the product. If your loved one died because of a defective product flaw, your wrongful death attorney will review the case to determine who can be held responsible. Possible liable parties are:
In any product liability claim, who must pay damages depends on the case circumstances.
Generally, a potentially liable party can be determined once your lawyer grasps the defect that caused the fatal injury. Then, they can work backward to understand the potentially liable party.
Your attorney also will perform detailed research about the alleged defective product. Such information may include the product’s design, engineering, manufacturing, and marketing. Any documents in these aspects of the product process will be crucial to prove if the product had a poor design, improper manufacture, or hazard not placed on a warning label.
Did your loved one die in an accident involving a defective product? This devastating personal loss may be compounded by the financial difficulties of losing a breadwinner in your home.
Nix Patterson’s wrongful death defective product attorneys have helped many families in your position. We have decades of defective product legal experience and millions recovered for our valued clients. Contact our defective product attorneys today for a complimentary consultation.
Nix Patterson only works on a contingency fee basis. Our clients pay us nothing unless we win. Schedule a free consultation today. Call 512.328.5333 or complete the form below.
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