St. Louis Products Liability Explained
Examining the three types of product defects
A defect that makes a product dangerous can occur at any of three stages: on the drawing board, as it is built or when it is labeled.
- Design defect — the product as designed is dangerous. For example, an SUV’s high center of gravity makes it unstable in an emergency swerve — and the occupants are crushed in the rollover when the roof supports fail.
- Manufacturing defect — a flaw in the assembly or raw materials. For example, a wrongly drilled hole in a ladder leads to metal fatigue and eventual collapse — a consumer shatters both heels in a fall.
- Failure to warn — the product begs to be used incorrectly, or lacks visible warnings of known dangers. For example, a table saw cannot make certain cuts unless its anti-kickback guard is removed. Labeling on the device doesn’t warn of the additional danger. One user removes the guard to make his cuts and doesn’t replace it. The next user, unaware of the need to replace the guard, is blinded, loses fingers or is even killed.
Proving the product is hazardous
For a product to be deemed dangerous, it must present a hazard when it is used as intended or in a manner that is reasonably foreseeable. Gross misuse of a product that results in harm to the user is not recoverable. If a consumer makes changes to a product and is subsequently injured, his recovery may be reduced by the extent to which his alterations contributed to the harm.
To prove a case, your attorney must show that your use of the product was foreseeable and that you didn’t alter the product in any way to make it dangerous. From there, the argument turns to the aspect of the product that made it dangerous. Designers will say they drew it up properly, but something went wrong in the manufacture. Engineers will say they executed the design precisely, but it should have had more explicit labels. And the marketing group will say the warnings would have been adequate if the product had performed according to specifications.
Competent and thorough pursuit of culpable parties
You can follow the buck as it’s passed around the circle, or you can retain an experienced products liability attorney who knows how and where to make the buck stop. The DeVoto Law Firm has the resources to hire top experts in design, engineering, manufacturing and labeling to pinpoint where the defect occurred and who is responsible. Our firm even handles multilevel product failures, where more than one party is responsible for the dangerous defect.
Contact a determined products liability law firm in St. Louis
If you or a loved one has sustained serious injuries from a badly designed, shoddily built or inadequately labeled product, the DeVoto Law Firm can help. Call us at [ln::phone] or contact us online to schedule a free consultation and case evaluation. We’re available evenings and weekends and make house or hospital calls when necessary. We accept cases throughout Missouri.
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