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Products Causing Pain: A Hard Look at Products Liability in the Auto Industry

The front page of the New York Times on October 20, 2014 gave us all a reason to slam on the brakes. Takata, a Japanese auto supplier, is facing the wrath of manufacturing a defective air bag line that recently caused the death of an Orlando woman. It is estimated that upwards of 14 million vehicles from 11 different automakers have now been recalled. Both Honda and Takata allegedly were aware of such defects, linking the defect to at least 139 injuries.

This is not the first defective product in the auto industry we have heard about recently. General Motors failed to disclose an ignition defect, estimated to have been the source of almost 30 deaths. Toyota faced (and is still facing) the airbag and sudden acceleration debacle just recently, and its sales are still taking a hit. Toyota has recalled nearly 300,000 vehicles to date.

Products Liability

Products liability is an area of civil law that deals with situations in which someone is injured or killed due to defective design, poor quality, or inadequate manufacturing techniques or distribution. Products liability cases often involve vehicles, specifically airbags, brakes, and fuel pumps, but can stem from just about anything. One might encounter a defective product at home, at work, on the way to work in the car, or on a child’s playground.

Defective products can cause severe injuries or death. When a product is being used in a way that it is intended and it does not function properly, the company who designed, manufactured, or distributed said product may be responsible. Even when a product is being used in a way other than the way it was intended, but is a foreseeable use for the product, companies often have an obligation there as well.

Companies often attempt to avoid this liability by providing information about the specific use for items. For example, Q-Tips do not belong in ears. The side of a Q-Tip box tells us specifically to not place the object in our ears and gives us a list of other reasonable (safe) sues for the device. But ask anyone what a Q-Tip is for and most of them will tell you it’s a device to clean one’s ears. The people who use the Q-Tip for such purposes will not likely be able to bring a products liability claim against the Q-Tip company because they are using the device in a way that goes against the specific guidelines enumerated on the box as a warning. Warnings are an entire other area of products liability. Warnings must be obvious, sufficient, and easily understandable. Failure to provide adequate warnings on products that lead to injury may be the basis of a similar lawsuit.

Miami Products Liability Attorneys

If you or someone you know has been injured or killed due to the use of a defective product, you need experienced products liability attorneys to help you navigate what can be a complicated area of the law. Our knowledgeable products liability experts at Alan Goldfarb, P.A. in Miami, Florida know exactly what kinds of issues often arise during the investigation of these kinds of tragic accidents. We will help you navigate the legal system and ensure you are compensated for your injuries to the greatest extent the law permits. Do not hesitate to contact us about your potential products liability case today.

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