We use “products” every day. As consumers we count on manufacturers to manufacture and sellers to sell safe products. In fact, most consumers probably assume the products they buy at local stores and dealerships are safe. But that is not always the case. What is a defective product? There are design defects, manufacturing defects, and marketing defects. This post discusses Texas products liability law which is controlled by Chapter 82 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code.
This best way to understand what Texas law requires is to look at the instructions the Judge will give the jury in a Texas products liability or defective product case.
In Texas, a “design defect” is a condition of the product that renders it unreasonably dangerous as designed, taking into consideration the utility of the product and the risk involved in its use. For a design defect to exist there must have been a safer alternative design.
“Safer alternative design” means a product design other than the one actually used that in reasonable probability—
(1) would have prevented or significantly reduced the risk of the occurrence or injury in question without substantially impairing the product’s utility and
(2) was economically and technologically feasible at the time the product left the control of DEFENDANT by the application of existing or reasonably achievable scientific knowledge.
A “manufacturing defect” in a defective product means that the product deviated in its construction or quality from its specifications or planned output in a manner that renders it unreasonably dangerous. An “unreasonably dangerous” product is one that is dangerous to an extent beyond that which would be contemplated by the ordinary user of the product, with the ordinary knowledge common to the community as to the product’s characteristics.
A “marketing defect” with respect to a defective product means the failure to give adequate warnings of the product’s dangers that were known or by the application of reasonably developed human skill and foresight should have been known or failure to give adequate instructions to avoid such dangers, which failure rendered the product unreasonably dangerous as marketed.
“Adequate” warnings and instructions mean warnings and instructions given in a form that could reasonably be expected to catch the attention of a reasonably prudent person in the circumstances of the product’s use; and the content of the warnings and instructions must be comprehensible to the average user and must convey a fair indication of the nature and extent of the danger and how to avoid it to the mind of a reasonably prudent person.
An “unreasonably dangerous” product is one that is dangerous to an extent beyond that which would be contemplated by the ordinary user of the product with the ordinary knowledge common to the community as to the product’s characteristics.
Unfortunately, products liability and defective product cases are difficult and expensive allowing only cases with the most serious injuries and or deaths to proceed. Even so, you can and should report potential defective products to the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Please also see our page, Products Liability Lawyer.
If your potential defective product claim involves an automobile defect, please see our personal injury blog post Crashworthiness. We have handled a number of automotive defect claims involving roof crush, fuel fed fires, seat belts, defective window glass, rollover, tires, doors opening during crashes. Among other defective product cases we have handled are cases involving medications, boats, lawn mowers, steering systems, child restraints, chain saws, backup alarms and firearms. If your potential claim concerns an aviation product, please see our personal injury blog post Aviation Accidents.
The defective product is important evidence in a products liability case. Do not dispose, alter, or in any way spoil the defective product as evidence if you are considering legal action.
We have experience with products liability cases, and if you or your family member has been seriously injured or died as a result of a defective product and need a Texas attorney, please do not hesitate to give East Texas Attorney, Chris Jones, Board Certified Personal Injury Trial Law, a call at 903-236-4990 for a free initial consultation or send us a message at Contact Us.