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Defective Product Overview

Our Law Firm has been involved with product liability cases for years. Because a product liability claims focuses on whether or not a product is defective, a product defect case can arise in all sorts of situations. Defective product cases can arise in any type of product-from an automobile to a off-road ATV to a lawn mower or even to a hunting blind - if it is defective and was sold to the public. In automobile cases, the defective product could be the entire vehicle, or a component part such as the seat belt or tires. If an individual is injured while on the job, a product case may be found in the defective industrial machinery that caused the injury. Our lawyers are trained to recognize defect claims in all types of cases. Any accident, whether it is an automotive or an industrial or an at-home accident, that involves a serious injury or death, including paralysis, loss of limb or brain damage, should be carefully analyzed for possible product liability claims.

Work Place Injuries

Thousands of workers are injured or killed each year at their work place. Although a state's workers' compensation system places limitations on the ability of employees to hold employers accountable for these work related injuries, many people do not realize that there may be another available source of recovery. Injuries in the work place quite often are caused by defective products. If a product causes an on-the job injury, a product liability suit may be brought against the product's manufacturer. Catastrophic injuries, deaths, and amputations unfortunately too commonly occur from defective products found in the work place. Given the notable short-comings of workers' compensation benefits, it is extremely important to evaluate on-the-job injury claims to determine if a third party claim exists against some other party. Commonly, injured employees are mangled or killed by defective machinery. In these cases, a third party claim can be filed against the designer, manufacturer, seller and/or the assembler of the machinery. In addition to the defective machinery, employees can sustain injuries on the job due to the negligence of a third party.

Tire Failures

Since the late 1990's when the world witnessed the Ford/Firestone litigation, tire failures and tire de-treads have been reported with increasing frequency. Although most of us will log thousands of miles in out lifetimes without so much as an air leak, tire failures, can and do occur regularly. Many of these failures can be directly attributed to manufacturing defects, design defects, or a tire manufacture's failure to warn of dangers inherent in their products. These dangers have been known to the tire industry for years. Tire manufactures know that tire treads will wear with proper use and at some point fail if not serviced properly and replaced after their intended period of use has expired. So, tire failure, blowouts and detreads are foreseeable events. Although not all tire failures result in serious accidents, the sudden failure of a tire can cause a vehicle to lose control and roll over or collide with other vehicles on the roadway. Tire failures are especially dangerous if the vehicle is traveling at highway speeds.

The tread separation can be caused by bonding problems in the tire manufacturing process, contaminants introduced into the tire during the tire making process, under-vulcanization, old ingredients, improper sized component, or something as simple as air being trapped in between the layers of the tire during manufacturing. Detreading of these defective tires can result in single- or multi-vehicle accidents, or even rollovers. Even the auto manufacturers agree that drivers should be able to pull over, not rollover, when a tire detreads. That is unfortunately not always the case.

Seat Belts Problems

Most do not realize there are two collisions in an auto accident. The first collision is the vehicle's impact with another vehicle or object. The second collision is the passenger's impact with the interior of the vehicle, or in case of ejection, impact outside the vehicle. Seat belts injuries occur when a defective seat belt fails to adequately protect a vehicle passenger in the "second collision" phase of an automobile accident. The purpose of a seat belt is to minimize the injuries caused in a second collision, by reducing or eliminating injurious occupant contact with the vehicle's interior. Seat belt injuries occur when there is a seat belt design, production, or installation defect. You may have a seat belt defect case if:

  • An occupant who has believed to have been belted is found unbelted after the accident:
  • A belted occupant makes contact with the vehicle interior, resulting in injury;
  • The occupant is ejected outside the vehicle the restraint of the seat belt, but the seat belt buckle is latched;
  • The webbing of the seat belt is loose after the accident;
  • The webbing of the seat belt is torn;
  • The door mounted seat belts in the vehicle were ineffective when the door of the vehicle opened;
  • The seat belt is "only" a lap belt or shoulder belt;
  • The vehicle occupant compartment is intact and a belted occupant is injured; or
  • The seat belt mounts came loose from the floor or vehicle pillars during the accident.
Roof Crush Losses

To protect occupants in a rollover, maintaining survival space is very important. Survival space is the space around an occupant that remains free of intrusion in an accident. It is the area in which an occupant is able to "survive" the crash. A roof is part of the structural support of a vehicle and is therefore a critical component in keeping the occupant safe. If a roof crushes substantially during an accident, from a failure of the side rails, headers or support pillars, catastrophic injuries can occur. Often, this decreased survival space results in some portion of the vehicle impacting the occupant's head causing death, paralysis or brain damage. Sometimes, the occupant can even be partially ejected through an opening created during roof crush. In a single vehicle accident, where the roof of a vehicle deforms, Crushes, or opens over the occupant's head by deforming sideways, there may be a roof crush defect.

Defective Big Trucks

Product liability cases are often over-looked, especially in single vehicle accidents involving large truck. However, theories of defect apply equally to 18-wheelers as they do to cars. For example, defective roofs and defective seatbelts cause injuries on 18-wheeler truck accidents as well as passenger car wrecks. Also, some defects, such as defective under ride protection, are almost exclusive to 18-wheeler trucks. So, it is important to keep one's mind open while investigating an 18-wheeler accident so that you don't miss important liability claims. Take the time to look at the correlation between the severity of the accident and the severity of injuries. Determine if there is a headache (header board) rack defect, a seat belt defect, an airbag defect, under ride protection defect, roof structure protection defect.

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We are very glad we called Carabin Shaw after our accident. We now recommend them to everyone. - Griselda S.
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