A defective product is any product that poses an unreasonable safety risk when it is used correctly or as-intended or even when misused if the manufacturer knew that use was foreseeable. Whether through some flaw in design or an error made during manufacturing or a failure to provide an adequate warning, any product can be defective. This includes everything from automobiles and car parts to medical devices and pharmaceutical drugs to electronics and everyday household items. When defective products make it onto the consumer market, they can cause devastating injuries and widespread harm.
What Can Our Firm Do For You?
Our firm assists victims of defective products by working to hold the negligent parties accountable. We have nearly 25 years of experience handling all types of complex and difficult personal injury cases, including those involving product liability. We understand how these cases are tried, and we have the courtroom experience to aggressively advocate for you. Our firm achieved the largest, number one jury verdict in the Austin area on behalf of the family of a woman who was hit and run over by a defective, runaway E-Z-GO golf cart/utility vehicle, rendering her quadriplegic. We were able to secure a verdict of $15.8 million— one of the highest verdicts in Austin to date for premise liability cases—for her family. See our results page.
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Types of Defective Products
In general, defective products fall into one of three categories:
- Defective Design: A product has a defective design if there is some flaw in the original design or it was designed poorly as a whole. Improper product testing can also be considered defective design in some cases.
- Defective Manufacturing: Defective manufacturing occurs when the product’s design is adequate, but an error is made, or a defect introduced during a stage of the manufacturing process. Generally, only the specific products that have the defect will be dangerous.
- Defective Marketing: Contrary to its name, defective marketing does not have to do with what most people consider marketing but rather means that the product lacks proper safety warnings, instructions, and/or other safety labels.
A vehicle might have a defective design if it rolls over when making turns at a relatively low speed. An airbag may have been defectively manufactured if it fails to inflate upon impact. A pharmaceutical drug might have a marketing defect if all of the possible side effects are not listed. These are just some examples of how products can be defective—contact our firm if you were injured by a defective product and our Austin defective product attorneys can help you understand your legal options.
Texas Product Liability Laws
In Texas, a product liability claim can be brought under one of several legal theories. The specific circumstances of the case, including the type of product and/or product defect and who is liable, will determine which theory a claim is brought under.
The different legal theories applicable to Texas product liability cases include:
- Strict Liability: The defendant is legally liable for the defective product, regardless of fault/negligence
- Negligence: The defendant’s negligence led to the defect, thereby making the defendant legally liable for damages
- Misrepresentation: The defendant misled consumers regarding the safety and/or performance of the product, making the defendant liable
- Breach of Warranty: The defendant breached an expressed or implied warranty in that the product did not work as it was intended to
Our product liability lawyers can help you determine if a product designer, manufacturer, or distributor is legally liable for your damages under one of these legal theories, according to state law. From there, we are able to build a solid case aimed at securing the full and fair compensation you are entitled to receive from the liable party.
How to File a Defective Product Claim
The statute of limitations in Texas for product liability claims is two years. This means you have two years from the date of the injury or the date you discovered the injury to file a claim. Additionally, Texas has a statute of repose of 15 years. In other words, you cannot file a defective product claim if the product in question was sold 15 or more years ago.
To file a defective product claim in Texas, you must show that:
- Your injury occurred less than two years ago
- The product was sold less than 15 years ago
- The product had a design, manufacturing, or marketing defect
- This defect made the product unreasonably dangerous
- You used the product correctly and/or as-intended
- The defect directly or indirectly caused your injuries
If the injured party acted negligently—altering the product or using it incorrectly in an unforeseeable way, for example—the case will likely be dismissed. Rightful claims can be very difficult to pursue the ordinary individual, as they typically require expert testimony, witness statements, documentation of medical treatment, and more. It is crucial that you enlist the assistance of a skilled product liability lawyer in Austin for help with your case.
Is a Recall Needed to Maintain a Product Liability Lawsuit?
Can you file a product liability lawsuit when the product that hurt you has not yet been recalled? Yes, you can. A product recall or lack of recall does not have a direct influence on a product liability lawsuit or defective product claim.
In fact, many product manufacturers refuse to accept responsibility for their defective products and will not recall them until there is pressure from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) or the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). If you are one of the first consumers who has been hurt by a defective product, then it is likely that there will have been no recalls. However, that does not mean you can’t file a claim. If anything, it means you might be the start of an influx of claims against that product maker for negligence.
Representing Clients in Austin, Georgetown & Beyond
Since 1995, Howry Breen & Herman has been committed to helping our clients achieve the best possible outcomes in their cases. We represent plaintiffs in complex product liability cases, offering personalized legal support and aggressive advocacy in and out of the courtroom. We have years of experience handling these types of complicated claims and are prepared to put our extensive skills, resources, and knowledge to work for you.