When it comes to your health and safety, product liability is no joke. One injury from a faulty product could change your entire life.
In Canada, product liability laws allow you to hold a company responsible for their negligence.
You shouldn’t suffer because a brand you trusted caused you pain.
Here’s how you can get a good settlement when you’ve been hurt by poor manufacturing.
Product defects have the potential to cause serious injuries to those who use them, especially when there has not been a recall.
Whether the defect is contamination or a damaging zipper, this is a serious matter that requires the help of a personal injury lawyer.
Get to know the facts and see what you can do to make your case strong enough to get the settlement you deserve.
There are many different product liability statutes, laws, and legislations in the country.
Some laws dictate that companies are required to warn consumers about the risks that come with their product.
When a customer is not properly instructed or educated about the product, it could cause a serious injury at the fault of the producer.
Product labels are also under strict regulations for almost every industry. There are a specific set of requirements for any label that must include warnings, ingredients, side effects and usage instructions as necessary.
When it comes to recalls, the laws in Canada are somewhat unclear. There is no specific requirement or law for companies to recall their products when they become defective.
However, there are responsibilities that the company has when they do recall a product. Consider the case of Hutton v. General Motors of Canada Ltd. in 2010.
General Motors recalled their Chevrolet Cavalier model in 1998 due to issues with air bag deployments.
They had fixed many of the Cavaliers on the road for this issue, including one that was driven by Kent Wobst and his girlfriend, Jennifer Hutton.
Wobst was driving in Alberta with Hutton in the passenger seat when they came up to a puddle.
He slowed the car down to pass through the puddle and the airbags were unnecessarily deployed, causing injuries to Hutton including a broken arm.
Hutton and Wobst successfully sued General Motors for negligence, as they had claimed to have fixed the recalled vehicle but had not investigated the recall as a whole further.
They were also able to sue the company for the defective design and manufacture of the vehicle.
When a product is created and sold, there are many different parties involved throughout the process. It begins with the company that designs the product and comes up with the concept.
While the company that designs the product likely owns the rights to it, they are not always the ones who actually make it or distribute it.
After this process there are also marketing companies that are responsible for promoting the item and generating sales.
Think about the amount of products you’ve purchased that came with thick manuals and pamphlets.
Most of us just throw these booklets out, but inside is a detailed explanation of safety procedures so that the company has fulfilled their duty to warn you, the consumer, of any potential risks.
Some types of products require installation procedures, done either by the company itself or by a third party. There is a risk that products could be installed incorrectly, leading to potential injury.
Who you can hold liable for a product defect depends on the type of defect it is.
There are three main types of product liability claims: defective design, manufacturing defects, and failure to warn claims.
Sometimes these claims can overlap, depending on the specifics of the situation and who was responsible for the injury.
Defective Design product liability claims occur when the defect took place before manufacturing.
These would be faults that happen because of the planning process, such as a flawed design or faulty structure.
The company has to be able to prove that they had no alternative within the cost range to using that specific design if you decide to make a claim against them.
You can help your claim significantly if you can prove that there is an alternative design to the product that would still allow the company to make a profit.
An example of a defective product design would be a child’s jacket that poses a choking hazard for the child because of a drawstring or zipper in a risky place.
The jacket would therefore not be designed in a safe way and alternatives could have been considered.
Manufacturing product liability claims come from the production process, and include mistakes or errors on the part of the manufacturer.
These types of defects could be anything from faulty materials to a food contamination during processing.
Sometimes it could occur because of the testing process that some companies use when they manufacture their products.
When the product has not been given adequate testing before it is put on the market, unknown defects can arise. Often, by the time people become aware of these defects, it’s too late.
One of the most common incidents in defective product manufacturing would be food contamination. News stories circulate frequently about people who have gotten extremely sick from a contaminated food product.
L.L. Bean recalled a series of children’s water bottles in July of 2016 for lead contamination.
The Chinese manufacturing company that produced the bottles used the wrong type of solder material, causing an issue in the seal at the bottom of the bottles.
A failure to warn product liability claim happens when a company fails to provide enough information on the label or in their marketing campaigns. It could be due to a lack of instructions for handling a product, or it could stem from not having enough warning about side effects.
While this type of claim is not the most common out of the three types of product liability claims, there are certain industries that are more vulnerable to them. These industries include pharmaceuticals, food and drink, various types of equipment, and technology.
To file a failure to warn claim for a defective product injury, you would have to ensure that the injury came specifically from inadequate information.
For example, pharmaceutical companies are required to warn customers about any side effects that could occur when mixed with any other medication. If you suffered one of these dangerous side effects because you took a different pill along with your cough medicine, you could qualify for a product injury claim as long as you prove there was no warning anywhere on the label.
The world of personal injury law is complicated and hard to maneuver through, especially when your quality of life is at stake. Let an expert help you and get you the settlement you deserve.
Conte & Associates are experienced, trusted, and passionate personal injury lawyers. We work with top medical experts in Ontario to make sure everyone on your side can help you to the best of their abilities.
Our offices are located in Whitby and Oshawa, allowing us to help our clients throughout the GTA.
Let us fight for you so that you can move on with your life. Contact us today for a consultation.