When you walk into a store and purchase an item of any kind, you have the reasonable expectation that if you use the product according to manufacturer instructions, you should be fine, particularly if the item carries a tag from an inspection body like Underwriters Laboratories. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case.
Lawsuits aren’t always about money
When consumers are injured by defective products, the manufacturers — and anyone else with responsibility for ensuring dangerous products don’t make it to store shelves — need to be held responsible. The best way to get their attention is usually through lawsuits seeking monetary damages.
While this may motivate manufacturers and distributors to be more diligent, it doesn’t protect other consumers who have already purchased the product and are unaware of the potential dangers. When a lawsuit against a defective product maker is successful, there are more than financial benefits for the plaintiff. Other positive outcomes are:
- Raising awareness among other consumers who may have purchased the product
- Initiating changes to the product to correct the flaw
- Initiating a recall requiring retailers to remove the products from their shelves
One of the most important goals for victims of defective products injuries is making sure the same tragedy doesn’t happen to someone else.
Don’t think it can’t happen to you
When we read stories involving defective products, most of us think it won’t happen to us. That’s probably what the parents of a North Attleboro boy thought when they placed him in his crib on a night in January of 2008, or the 12 other parents whose infants died because of poor product design and inadequate warnings.
The families of those injured by defective Banzai Inflatable Pool Slides sold at Wal-Mart and Toys R Us probably thought the same thing. In both cases, victims were using the products as designed and following all provided safety instructions.
Always read warning labels and follow instructions when putting together new toys for your children or other household items. However, don’t be fooled into thinking you don’t have a case if you or a family member is seriously injured by a defective product. Someone has to bring safety issues to the public’s attention.
Contact the attorneys of Swartz & Lynch LLP if you have questions about a products liability claim in the Greater Boston area.