Many modern automobiles sold in Virginia come equipped with a sliding window in the roof. These popular devices are usually referred to as sun roof, and they are seldom thought of as the source of potential products liability lawsuit. However, Consumer Reports magazine recently completed a study of sunroofs in GM automobiles, and the results were surprising -- not least of all to GM, which has just announced that it is commencing a voluntary internal investigation into the safety of sunroofs.
Virginia was one of dozens of states that investigated General Motors over allegations that the company was aware of and deliberately hid evidence of defective ignition switches. In one of the largest products liability settlements in recent years, General Motors has agreed to pay $120 million to 49 states and the District of Columbia.
Northern Virginia households contain numerous items that can be the cause of serious injury. Among the most obvious are knives and other cutting implements found in the kitchen and electrical devices of all kinds. One class of household furnishings, however, is hardly considered to be a threat of injury or death: the plain, unadorned bedroom dresser. Nevertheless, Walmart has taken a dramatic step to forestall numerous products liability lawsuits by recalling 1.6 million dressers because they are unstable and can cause injury or death if they tip over.
Automobile design and manufacturing defects are common causes of injuries and death in Virginia and elsewhere. Manufacturers frequently spend large amounts of money defending liability claims that are based on these defects, but occasionally such efforts are unavailing. In one the largest products liability cases in recent times, air bag Takata Corp. has been forced to file bankruptcy because it faces overwhelming recall costs and liability for damages caused by its defective air bag inflators.
Products liability cases arise in Fairfax when consumers suffer harm as a result of using products put into the stream of commerce by sellers. Sellers can be expanded to cover a wide range of possible defendants in a products liability case, including but not limited to the company that designed the dangerous goods, the entity that made the parts that went into the dangerous goods, the entity that assembled the defective good, and the store that sold the dangerous products to consumers.
Losing someone in a sudden accident can be devastating for not only the family members of the accident victim, but also for all those who knew or came into contact with the victim. When the victims are young children, the loss is felt across the whole community and it can take time before a family is able to come to terms with their loss. One of the ways family members can get closure is by holding the negligent parties responsible for their actions that caused the accident.
We rarely read product warnings when we purchase something from the market, but that does not absolve the manufacturer from their legal obligation of providing warnings to the public even if their product does not have a design flaw and was manufactured properly. A product will still be considered defective when the foreseeable risks posed by the product could have been reduced or avoided by providing reasonable instructions and the omission of those instructions makes the product unsafe. This means that if a manufacturer releases a product without instructions, they could be liable for the injuries that result.
The harm that can be caused by a defective product can be significant. Retailer Barnes & Noble recently recalled power adapters sold with Nook tablets due to the risk of a potential shock hazard. Approximately 147,000 units are impacted by the recall. The casing of the power adapter can break when the power adapter is plugged into an electrical outlet which can expose the metal prongs of the power adapter, causing the risk of an electrical shock.
This blog recently discussed the potential harm dangerous and defective products can cause children. Children can be harmed by products in a variety of different ways, including because of insufficient warnings. Even when a product has been properly manufactured and designed without any flaws, if it is without sufficient warnings, it may be considered defective. A product can be considered defective if it fails to provide sufficient warnings concerning foreseeable risks of harm that could have reasonably been avoided with sufficient warnings.
Doctors regularly caring for children are some of the first to become aware of defective children's products. Pediatricians can report concerns they may have related to product safety which is one method of protecting children from potentially dangerous children's toys. Physicians, consumers and parents all have the ability to report dangerous or defective children's products or toys to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.