We come into contact with products every day. Many of these products are designed to help us and make our lives easier, and in some cases, safer. Most of these products are safely designed and manufactured and if used properly, pose little risk of injury. However, a number of products are not designed or manufactured safely. Some products are also not accompanied by adequate warnings about the risks and dangers they pose. The resulting injuries from these defective and unreasonably dangerous products can be catastrophic.
The attorneys at McCartney Stucky LLC routinely handle matters involving serious injury or death caused by a defective product that was not designed or made properly. Our clients often spend months, or even years, recovering from painful injuries; costly medical bills; lost income; or the tragedy of losing a loved one because a company decided to place an unsafe product on the market.
Common Product Defects:
Generally, a product can be defective in three ways:
- Defective design: Some flaw exists at the design level, meaning every product featuring that design is defective and has the potential to cause similar injuries.
- Defective manufacturing: There was some flaw during production that resulted in the injury-causing defect. Defects of this nature typically only affect specific lots of units or units produced in a specific time frame.
- Defective or inaccurate marketing: The product was inaccurately represented with improper labeling, lack of safety indicators or instructions or failed to warn users of potential risks.
There are several common categories of defective products that can cause injury and death. Accordingly, this list is not exclusive or exhaustive but rather it cites to some of the most common defective products that our attorneys see on a day-to-day basis in our practice.
Often times, when you are injured in a car accident, your injuries can be caused – not by the crash itself – but because the vehicle safety systems such as the seatbelts, airbags or occupant safety compartment did not adequately protect you in the accident. This is often referred to as a “crashworthiness” case. Crashworthiness is a vehicle’s capability to prevent injuries to its occupants in the event of a foreseeable collision. The concept of crashworthiness deals with the “second collision” which results from the occupant’s impact with the interior of the vehicle. If a vehicle is crashworthy, the vehicle’s design will distribute potentially injurious forces over as large a distance and as long a period of time as possible. If the vehicle is not crashworthy, the injuries resulting from these defects can be catastrophic and sometimes fatal.
The attorneys of McCartney Stucky LLC have decades of experience in litigating these types of cases, including:
- Defective seat belt and airbag systems: Anyone who has been in a car accident and was protected by a seatbelt or airbag knows how important these safety features are but when these devices fail to work properly, the injuries can be catastrophic and even fatal. Seat belts can fail to lock up, can be inadvertently released or spool out improperly, failing to protect the occupants who are wearing them. Air bags can fail to deploy when they should deploy or can deploy too aggressively causing unnecessary injury or death.
- Rollover Accidents and Stability Control: Electronic Stability Control (ESC) systems were widely available by 2004. Despite that fact, millions of automobiles are on the road that do not have this essential safety feature and are a risk to drivers and passengers who get injured unnecessarily in rollover accidents. Cars and trucks with a narrow track width and high center of gravity are especially prone to rollover accidents. Some of these accidents are the result of collisions or encounters with obstacles on the road but some may be the result of simply changing direction. Cars equipped with ESC are much more likely to maintain control and not rollover in such situations.
- Post-Collision Fuel-Fed Fires: Defective fuel systems in both cars and large trucks can lead to deadly fires and explosions in the immediate aftermath of an accident. Fuel-fed fires should almost never happen and are almost always caused by defective fuel systems. Unfortunately, many fuel-fed fires result in fatal injuries. Those victims that do survive must contend with months, years or possibly a lifetime of burn injury treatments, including excruciating skin grafts and reconstructive surgeries.
- Tire Failure and Separation: Tire tread separation accidents are more likely to happen when cars have been traveling long distances, especially in hot weather. Tire defects can result from poor tire design and poor manufacturing processes.
In order to recover on a motor vehicle crashworthiness claim, you must prove that a defective design caused the injury, a safer alternative design was available, that the safer design would have lessened or prevented the injuries and a safer design could have and should have been used. With a combined 40 years of experience, our attorneys have successfully handled numerous auto defect cases and have a proven track record of success.
McCartney Stucky LLC has decades of experience representing victims who have been injured or killed as a result of unsafe industrial or workplace conditions including dangerous machinery. In these cases, the owners usually know that an unsafe condition or potential risk exists but do not appropriately act to correct the hazard or inform workers of the potential hazard.
Safety is a paramount concern for consumer products we use every day and also items we entrust to be safe when our children use them. Nonetheless, many consumer products that we come into contact with on a regular basis routinely cause serious injury and death due to their dangerous and defective condition. Some of the products our attorneys commonly see injuries arise out of include:
- Bicycles – We all grew up learning to ride a bike and most of those bikes were sturdy and their frames were made of metal. Many people still use bikes to get to work or ride as a part of their exercise regimen. Modern bicycles, especially the high-end types favored by triathletes or serious cyclists, are made of much lighter weight, and consequently less sturdy, materials. We have had a number of cases involving carbon fiber and titanium bicycle frame and fork failures resulting in severe injuries and death.
- Electronic Cigarettes – The batteries in these devices are susceptible to overheating which can lead to dangerous fires and explosions severely injuring the user.
- Grill Brushes – Traditional wire grill brushes can shed tiny metal fibers while cleaning a grill top. The fibers may then be ingested which can lead to severe injuries.
- Electric Scooters – The newest form of transportation in many metropolitan areas are electric scooters which users can pay to ride using a simple app on their smart phone. While these scooters are convenient and fun, they are not always adequately designed for their ultimate use and can cause severe injuries.
- Pressure Cookers – A popular cooking appliance which can be found in many kitchens across the country, these products can be very dangerous. Defective and unreasonably dangerous designs can lead to frightening explosions and devastating injuries.
Manufacturers must act reasonably to protect their customers’ safety when they are designing and manufacturing their product. This includes having safety experts assess safety issues and keeping track of safety-related incidents. Despite these requirements, some consumer products prove to be unsafe, and when they do, McCartney Stucky attorneys want to know what happened and why. Working hand-in-hand with industry leading experts, our exhaustive investigations include:
- Reviewing product safety codes and regulations, industry standards, analogous products, patents and design issues,
- Assessing previous safety tests,
- Uncovering records of all prior accidents, and
- Reviewing all recall notices.
The simple fact that someone is hurt while using a product does not automatically mean that the product is defective or that a lawsuit is warranted. Before agreeing to file a lawsuit, McCartney Stucky LLC will thoroughly investigate the circumstances surrounding the injury or death. If, and only if, a safety expert determines that a product was defective and caused the injury, will we agree to file a lawsuit in which we will bring to bear our firm’s resources and our decades of experience to hold responsible the company or companies involved in placing that defective product into the marketplace.