Personal Injury Blog : Product Liability: What It Really Means

Personal Injury Blog : Product Liability: What It Really Means

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Product Liability: What It Really Means
“Product Liability�? is the term that lawyers use when we evaluate products and their components for potential responsibility for the injury or death of our clients. This evaluation starts with the original manufacturer of the product but it may extend to the suppliers of the components that are a part of the products that the public uses daily. Most products are distributed to the public through a distribution chain. Each member of the chain may have some responsibility for that product if that product fails and causes injury or death. In any case where the performance of the product is questioned, it is important to determine who was involved in every stage of the product’s manufacture, marketing and sale so that the client may advised about their legal rights.

Strict Liability
Strict Liability is the foundation for today’s strict product liability law in Texas and beyond. The Law provides: “One who sells any product in a defective condition unreasonably dangerous to the user or consumer or to his property is subject to liability for physical harm thereby caused.�? These claims examine the condition of the product rather than the conduct of the manufacturer or retailer. Potential defects may be found in the design, manufacture, marketing/warnings of the product.
Negligence
Negligence is defined as a failure of a manufacturer or a retailer to act in conformity with the standard of the manufacturers and retailer in that industry under the same circumstances. Negligence can be found where a defendant acts or fails to act under circumstances where other defendants would have acted. We look at the design, manufacture and marketing/warnings for the product but the focus is the actions or inactions of the manufacturer or retailer. Many negligence-based product liability cases are due to a lack of action when the industry becomes aware of a problem but chooses not to act in the best interest of the customers who buy and use the product.
Breach of Warranty
Personal injury liability claims which result from a breach of warranty fall under a contract action. For instance, many products have express written (and sometimes unwritten) warranties that exist from the time for the sale for a period of time. These warranties set out certain characteristics which the product is supposed to have or is expected to have. When those characteristics are not found and the consumer is injured, there may be a claim for a breach of warrant.

There is also implied warranty, in which case a product comes with the implication that as long as it is used as it was designed to be used, the consumer will avoid injury. Despite the lack of a written warranty, this is still a legitimate cause for legal action if an injury occurs.

Misrepresentation
Misrepresentation is a “tort�? action, or a strict liability claim. Whether purposeful or accidental, misrepresentation is a viable cause for a personal injury suit if the manufacturer or retailer misrepresented the characteristics and qualities of a product and the consumer is injured as a direct result of product not having those attributes.

For instance, if a company produces a product created with toxic materials that are undisclosed, that company would be liable if anyone became ill due to exposure to those materials. Misrepresentation can occur through known ignorance or blatant disregard for the truth.

Proving the specific details which lead to a product related injury often requires the aid of an established products liability lawyer with Ketterman Rowland & Westlund maintain an experienced and professional staff of legal experts

Distracted Driving – More and More Causing Accidents

As National Distracted Driving Awareness Month comes to an end, the National Safety Council would like for motorists to respect the dangers of distracted driving all year long. We recently reported on our Truck Accident Lawyers Blog about an unfortunate fatal trucking accident that took the life of a driver. Police are still investigating to see if the driver was operating his vehicle while distracted. They’re also investigating to see if he could have been asleep at the wheel.

Our truck accident lawyers would like to stress the importance of putting away all distractions while operating a motor vehicle. This advice is particularly critical for truck drivers.

The National Safety Council (NSC) was behind the events of National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, as were the safety advocates at FocusDriven. Both organizations used the entire month to promote safe driving habits by discouraging the use of cell phones and other distracting behavior while driving. The NSC reported that there are nearly 12 times as many accidents that involve cell phone use as text messaging.

The safe driving advocates believe that National Distracted Driving Awareness Month is a perfect opportunity for employers to implement no cell phone policies. Rules regarding cell phone use and other distractions while driving would make a great impact on the risk of a trucking accident. The NSC has provided employers with a Cell Phone Policy Kit to help your company get started.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that there were more than 3,300 fatalities, and more than 74,000 injured, in accidents involving trucks in the United States in 2009. They report that nearly 300,000 large trucks, with a gross weight rating of more than 10,000 pounds, that were involved in traffic accidents in that same year.

The U.S. government recently announced a ban on texting by drivers of large commercial vehicles in an attempt to avoid the dangers of distracted driving. The new ban comes with fines of up to $2,750. A ban on hand-held cell phones is in the works.

“We want the drivers of big rigs and buses and those who share the roads with them to be safe,” LaHood said. “This is an important safety step and we will be taking more to eliminate the threat of distracted driving.”

Last year, the President banned all federal employees from texting while driving a government vehicle. He also banned them from texting in their own cars if they use government-issued phones or are on official business.

As officials continue to throw bans on drivers of various vehicles, there is no doubt that distracted driving includes other activities. Distracted driving can include messing with the radio, talking to passengers, or using GPS devices or maps. It is not until all drivers make a conscious effort to practice alert and focus driving habits that we will all see a significant decrease in serious and fatal accidents on our roadways.

If you are involved in a trucking accident, contact our truck accident lawyers for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights.