Products liability law, access to justice crucial to consumer protections

posted on:
March 22, 2017

author:
Staff

While much of today’s political discussion involves social issues, most people rarely consider a critical category of laws that protect us all each day. Beasley Allen has litigated numerous product liability cases through the years and has found, undoubtedly, that product liability laws protect millions throughout our country.

Too often, cutting corners costs innocent lives, and many more companies would cut corners if these laws and our ability to seek justice by enforcing them in the courts did not exist. These laws establish an equilibrium of sorts because they protect the assumptions we all make in our everyday lives – that the products we use are safe and will work as we intend. We rarely think about these assumptions because to think otherwise would be too scary to consider.

Unfortunately, product liability law, and the right to a trial by jury, are under attack. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, oftentimes mistaken by the public as a branch of government instead of the corporate special interest group that it is, constantly seeks to erode products liability law and the right to a trial by jury. They are not concerned with safety, but instead with further increasing corporate profits. We see in our practice on almost a daily basis the cost of these efforts – in money, pain and, many times, human life.

Lawyers in our firm see this pain and heartbreak on a daily basis, and, more often than not, the results can be catastrophic. They include instances where:

  • Takata airbags explode and maim or kill occupants;
  • Airbags fail to deploy;
  • Defective seatbelts cause injury or loss of life during an accident;
  • Tire defects cause blowouts, and ultimately, deadly rollovers;
  • Poor automobile roof design leads to catastrophic roof crush;
  • Sudden, uncontrolled and unintended acceleration of vehicles occurs;
  • Ignition switch defects cause vehicles to stall at the worst possible times;
  • Defective cab guards on heavy-duty trucks cause loads to obliterate drivers’ cabins;
  • Compromised automobile reinforcement structures result in serious injury or death;
  • Poor automobile fuel lines or lubricant storage design causes a vehicle to burst into flames;
  • Pressure cookers, heaters and dishwashers burst into flames due to cheap component parts;
  • Fire alarms fail to alert;
  • Poorly designed hot tubs and baths trap and drown the elderly;
  • Children’s toys contain toxic substances, including lead paint;
  • E-cigarettes and cell phones explode due to cheap parts or defective batteries;
  • ATVs and golf carts roll over and kill occupants (many have no roof reinforcement);
  • Guardrails impale vehicles and their occupants instead of protecting them;
  • Automobile occupant seats collapse or break;
  • Automobile door latches fail, causing belted occupants to be ejected;
  • Diseased food severely sickens or kills;
  • Firearms unexpectedly fire without being triggered;
  • Toxic cosmetic products, such as talc, cause cancer, though users were told the products were safe;
  • Drugs, like Vioxx, cause negative side effects, such as strokes, heart attack or death;
  • Defective medical devices, like transvaginal mesh, fail and painfully affect the lives of tens of thousands of people;
  • Defective heavy-duty equipment, such as a blowout preventer, contributed to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill;
  • Products emit dangerous levels of radiation and cause cancer.

In our world of global commerce and trade, one defectively designed product can touch thousands – if not millions – of lives. Most of the time, recalls and corrective action can stop defects in new devices and, sometimes, catch older defective devices before they injure consumers. However, we find instances where products have slipped through the cracks and hurt people far too often. As a result, the best defense against product liability heartbreak is prevention via product liability law and enforcement, which hinges on a strong, fair and independent judicial system.

The American people should be able to assume the products they use are safe. The water we drink, the food we eat, the automobiles we drive, the planes we fly, the air we breathe, the safety devices we believe will protect us, and the consumer products we use all depend on the assumption they are safe. We must never take those assumptions (and the laws that allow us to make those assumptions) for granted.

For more information about products liability laws, or if you or a loved one has suffered a serious injury because of what you believe is a defective product, our lawyers would be happy to talk with you. You can fill out the contact form on this page, call us at 800-898-2034 or email web@beasleyallen.com.

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