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Product defects: The facts you need to know in Washington, D.C.

Product liability is something you might be interested in if you've been hurt by something you have used or eaten. When you take a drug that was manufactured inaccurately or suffer from injuries due to a defective item, you have a right to seek compensation for your injuries in many cases.

Defective and dangerous products fall under the product liability laws of each state in the United States, so they can vary slightly. Liability has to be determined, which means that you will need to determine who is at fault by seeing when the product became defective. For example, was it the manufacturer's error, a component part problem that should be handled by a different manufacturer, a third-party's error or the error of the retail store that sold the item to you? In order to make a claim, you'll likely need to have this information on hand.

The type of defect the product has also makes a difference. A marketing defect, like improper instructions, could be very serious in the case of medications, but it might not be as serious if it's a simple explanation, like how to use a common item such as a toothbrush. Manufacturing defects refer to defects in the product's making; it might have screws loose, the wrong chemicals in a drug or other issues. Design defects, the third type, are issues that are a result of a flawed design plan.

In some cases, you may be able to shift the burden of proof onto the defendant. At that point, they will have to prove that the item was safe for you to use, because you, as the victim of a product defect, can already show that you have suffered injuries from a defective product.

Source: FindLaw, "What Is Product Liability?" Nov. 03, 2014

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