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Products Liability Explained

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 314-961-0330 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.

St. Louis Product Liability Attorney

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Tom has represented me on a couple of matters.. Two worker's compensation cases and the accidents that caused my work injuries. He handled my cases quickly and efficiently and although they were not big cases he handled them like they were important cases. If any of my friends or co-workers get injured, I always give them Tom's name.
- O.B.

I was in an industrial accident, stairway collapse, and Tom handled my case against the owner of the building. When the topic of settlement came up before the start of the trial the defense lawyer mentioned a small amount, Later, Tom and I were in the elevator with the defense lawyer and Tom looked at him and said, you're going down. Watching Tom try my case and object and control the evidence was great. The jury gave Tom every single penny that he asked for. Tom and I stay in touch. I call him Big Tom.
Alan C.

"For nearly two decades, Thomas C. DeVoto has made substantial contributions to the continuing legal education of Missouri’s attorneys by sharing his experience and knowledge at various Missouri Bar CLE programs."
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