According to Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC, by the time a product finally makes its way into the hands of the consumer, one of the most basic assumptions we should be able to make is that the product will be safe. While most products end up being completely risk-free as long as they are used as intended, dangerous products do make their way to market and cause people to sustain serious, if not life-threatening, injuries every year.
Consumers holding the belief that the products they purchase are safe and without defects is the most normal thing about manufacturer and consumer relationship. This trust is not just rooted on consumers’ knowledge of the legal responsibility of manufacturers to ensure that their products are never sources of harm (injury or illness), but also complies with the standard of quality that they themselves have implemented and observe, to protect the reputation they have built for their company.
In reality, however, despite the laws, standard of quality, reputation, and the watchful eyes of government authorities and company managers, flawed or defective products still slip through quality control, find their way in stores, and made available to billions of consumers. As a result, every year, thousands of product liability claims, also called tort lawsuits, against manufacturers of harmful products are filed by consumers due to the injury they sustain from the use of these products.
With millions of defective, harmful products available in the market, the list is an endless one. A number of things on this list are nursery items, children’s toys, electronic gadgets, and household appliances and furniture. These products, by the way, are limited to things that fall under the control of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Other products fall under the regulation of specific government agencies, like:
- Food, medical devices, drugs and cosmetics being under the Food and Drug Administration;
- Aircraft, which is managed by the Federal Aviation Administration;
- Automobiles, which are managed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration;
- Alcohol, tobacco & tobacco products, which are under the jurisdiction of the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau; and,
- Firearms and ammunition, which is under the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
When a product injures anyone, especially a child, all those involved in the chain of distribution, the manufacturer, the distributor and the retailer, can be named as defendants in a civil or tort lawsuit.