If a dangerous or defective product injures a consumer, the manufacturer, and sometimes the designer, distributor, wholesaler or retailer, is considered liable, as long as the consumer was using the product as it was meant to be used when he or she was injured. This area of law is referred to as product liability. Whether the product is a hairdryer, an automobile tire or anything else, manufacturers must make sure that products are designed and made safely, that quality control systems prevent defective products from entering the market and that adequate directions and warning labels are available to protect consumers.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, 33.1 million Americans are injured by consumer products each year. The state of Georgia gives its citizens the right to sue a manufacturer over injuries they receive from a defective product.
Types of Product Liability Lawsuits
There are three types of product liability lawsuits. The first is a product liability suit based on a design defect. A design defect occurs when there was a flaw with the design of the product. Even though the product was created as it was intended, it is inherently unsafe.
The next kind of product liability lawsuit is based on a manufacturing defect. This occurs when the product is produced or in the assembly process. It can involve a single unit or a batch of the product. Here, the consumer is not claiming that the product is inherently dangerous, but instead the consumer is claiming that something went wrong or was flawed in the manufacturing process that caused his/her injury.
The last type of product liability lawsuit has to do with the failure to warn. A manufacturer of a product has a duty to tell consumers when using this product in an intended or foreseeable way can be dangerous. A failure to warn occurs when the manufacturer failed to include adequate instructions to use the product or instructions about the known or foreseeable hazards that come along with the usage of this product. Even after the product is made and sold, the manufacturer, under Georgia law, has a duty to continue to warn of any dangers to the consumers.
Here are several examples of what leads to a products liability lawsuit:
- Food or medicine contamination
- Failure to fully test a product for safety
- Use of poisonous or toxic materials
- Failure to label a product properly or mislabeling a product
- Unreasonably weak materials
- Conveyor belts without safeguards
- Defective air bags, seats or seat belts
- Industrial equipment failures
What You Need to Prove a Product Liability Case in Georgia
In order to bring a product liability lawsuit, you must prove that the product you were injured by was defective and that this was what caused your injuries. The basic elements include showing that: the product was defective at the time of the injury; the defective product proximately caused the injury or death; the product was in substantially the same condition as it was when it left the defendant; and the product was intended to be used or was being used in a manner that was reasonably foreseeable to the defendant.
Legal grounds to bring a product liability lawsuit:
- Strict liability
- Breach of warranty
- Misrepresentation or fraud
Georgia Statute of Limitations
A statute of limitations is the given time period during which a legal action can be brought. Georgia has a statute of limitations of two years for products liability cases. Contact us before it is too late for a free consultation to learn about your legal rights and options.
Attorneys at Childers, Schlueter & Smith, LLC are currently investigating the following product claims:
DePuy ASR Hip Implants
Johnson & Johnson subsidiary DePuy led thousands of patients with damaged hips to believe that their now recalled ASR hip replacement system, which uses a metal-on-metal device, would improve the pain and mobility of their hip. However, the danger of a metal-on-metal device has proven to be just as harmful as a damaged hip — if not more so.
Concerns arise because the metal in the DePuy ASR hip implant contains the elements cobalt and chromium, which can be hazardous and even carcinogenic. Shards of this metal have been known to grind off of the ASR hip implant, damaging surrounding tissues and muscles and resulting in an increased level of these dangerous metal ions in the body. This can cause intense leg, hip or groin pain, and in many cases patients have reported pain to the point of immobility. Read more…
Yamaha Rhino 660
Yamaha, a popular manufacturer of all-terrain vehicles and outdoor adventure rides, introduced a unique and different model called the Yamaha Rhino 660 in 2003. The vehicle has features of a go-cart, golf cart and a traditional all-terrain vehicle. The vehicle quickly became popular. However, its popularity dwindled once numerous injuries began to be reported.
The president of Yamaha Motors subsidiary, Keisuke Yoshida, tested the Yamaha Rhino 660 in the beginning states and was reportedly injured. This type of Rhino was still released into the market. In the first 15 months, 150,000 of these types of vehicles were sold. Within this time period, about 59 riders were killed in accidents involving the Yamaha Rhino 660. Hundreds of wrongful death or personal injury lawsuits followed.
Because of all of these injuries, the company has recalled and continues to recall Rhinos for repair. Accidents have been occurring because of high speeds or reckless driving and even accidents are occurring at low and moderate speeds in normal conditions. Concerns with the Yamaha Rhino include that it has too narrow of a wheel base and that there is no padding on the roll bar, too high of center gravity, a foot well that is not deep enough and doors that are too short.
Some of the defects of the Rhino include that it is inherently unstable because of the top heavy nature and the fact that its seatbelts unspool if the vehicle rolls over. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than two-thirds of the 50 cases they have investigated involved rollovers and many involved unbelted occupants. Many of these cases occurred at low speeds and on a level terrain.
If you or a loved one have questions about the Yamaha Rhino 660 or another similar ATV, contact our Yamaha Rhino lawyers to find out more about your rights and situation.