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Defective Products Mass Tort Lawyer

A defective electrical wire burning

When someone buys a product, they rely on an implied guarantee from the manufacturers and marketers of that product that it’s generally safe, or if it’s not safe, that they’ll be warned. However, in the pursuit of profit, some companies neglect to make their product safe, or fail to warn consumers about its dangers. Victims of injuries resulting from these negligent behaviors should contact a personal injury lawyer in Louisiana and seek restitution through a defective product lawsuit.

Because so many products are mass-produced, a single defect in the design or manufacturing process can pose a risk to massive amounts of people. When multiple victims are hurt by defective products from one company, even if it’s a defective drug, they can band their lawsuits together in a mass tort action, which enables the plaintiffs to share evidence and other information while seeking justice.

Mass tort cases are frequently confused with class action lawsuits, but they are actually quite different. In a class action lawsuit, all the plaintiffs are treated as one legal entity, and split whatever compensation is awarded to the entire class. In mass tort cases, however, each plaintiff proves their damages individually, making it more likely that they can recover the funds they need to pay for treatment, lost wages, and other costs they’ve borne.

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Types of Product Defects That Cause Injury

There are three main points in the supply chain where negligence can lead to a defective product. They comprise the design phase, the manufacturing phase, and the marketing phase. Federal law concerns itself primarily with the first two, but marketing issues, such as false advertising and failure to warn consumers, can also cause injury.

Design Defects

If a product is flawed in its original design in a way that causes it to be unreasonably dangerous and hazardous for potential users, it’s considered to have a design defect. Generally, design defects will be found in all the products manufactured, since they were flawed before even being made.

A bottle of talcum powder, a product that can cause cancer, spilled on a black surface.

To prove liability from a defective design, one of the following facts need to be proved:

  • The product’s design was unreasonably dangerous, before production began
  • The product’s designers should have anticipated its design could harm someone using the product
  • The manufacturer could have used a different design that
    • wouldn’t alter the product’s purpose
    • was economically feasible to build instead

If any of these points can be proved, you and other injured users may have grounds for a defective design claim. Call Gordon McKernan Injury Attorneys for a free consultation about your legal options.

Manufacturing Defects

Manufacturing defects are unintended defects caused by errors in the product’s assembly. Even though these defects are usually only found in a small percentage of the company’s product, they can still injure dozens or even hundreds of people.

This type of defect is litigated based on the legal theory of strict liability: the manufacturer is liable for any manufacturing defects that occur, regardless of the care they took throughout the manufacturing process. In order to be eligible for compensation from a manufacturing defect, plaintiffs need to prove that the defect allegedly responsible for their injuries was present when the product left the factory.

Failure to Warn Consumers

Anyone along the supply chain, from manufacturer and distributor, to wholesaler and retailer, can be found liable for a faulty product if they failed to warn users of the potential risks of using a product. These lawsuits can also be brought if, by following the warnings on the product, an injury was caused.

Types of Product Liability Lawsuits

Closeup photo of a safety recall warning.

Product liability suits generally fall under one of three broad umbrella types.

Strict Liability

Most product liability cases are pursued under the strict liability legal theory. In strict liability claims, the plaintiff only has to prove that

  • the product is defective
  • they were injured as a result of that defect

If these can be proved, the manufacturer can be held strictly liable for all damages resulting from injuries due to the defect, no matter how much caution they may have taken when manufacturing the product.

For this doctrine to apply, the product must have been purchased in the chain of distribution, such as at a retail store or wholesaler. Second-hand and other purchases of a defective product are not eligible for these claims.

Negligence

For a claim to fall under negligence statutes, the claimant must show that the manufacturer was careless in either the design or manufacture of the product, and that that led to the claimant’s injuries. The consumer must show that the defendant had a duty to sell a safe product, and that they breached that duty.

To prove a breach of duty, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant either knew, or should have known, that the product was defective before selling it. Finally, the plaintiff must prove that their injuries were caused by the defective product.

Breach of Warranty

When a product is sold, the buyer relies on two warranties:

  • An express warranty is an explicit statement about the product and its safety made by the manufacturer or retailer
  • An implied warranty is the implied promise that the product, if used as it’s been designed, will not cause harm.

If a defective product breaches either of these warranties, people who were harmed by it could be eligible for compensation through a defective product claim.

Current Defective Products Lawsuits

An assortment of defective pharmaceuticals, including pills, vials, and syringes.

Tragically, there are multiple mass tort actions ongoing at any given time, with thousands of plaintiffs and hundreds of defendants. Defective products lawsuits that are currently being decided include

  • 3M Bair Hugger, a forced-air surgical warming blanket that plaintiffs allege has led to virulent post-surgical infections
  • 3M Earplugs allegedly fail to properly seal, leading to hearing loss
  • Philips CPAP Machines with filters that have been shown to break down and enter the airway, causing cancer
  • Talcum powder that has been found to be contaminated with asbestos causing an increased risk of cancer
  • And others

Should I File an Individual Lawsuit or Join a Mass Tort?

This is one of the more complex legal questions. Individual personal injury cases and mass tort cases can be similar, but hold important differences. Product liability suits tend to affect large amounts of people, such as toxic products, so a mass tort action might make sense to share evidence found in the discovery process.

However, the complexity of product liability law means that you need an experienced defective product injury lawyer on your side when seeking compensation for your injuries.

The team at Gordon McKernan Injury Attorneys has extensive experience litigating both personal injury and mass tort lawsuits, and we’re dedicated to helping our clients receive their deserved compensation. Give us a call at for a free consultation as to your legal options today.

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