Hundreds of thousands of consumers receive emergency room treatment every year due to injuries caused by defective products. Injury victims are entitled to compensation whenever an injury is related to a defect in the design or manufacturing of a product, or to a failure to warn the consumer of the risks associated with the product. In some cases, it makes sense for victims to pursue compensation collectively by means of a class action lawsuit.
Defective product lawsuits are a particularly useful means of achieving justice when consumers have not yet suffered a provable injury from a defective product, but have been exposed to a risk of future health problems. A child who has been chewing on a toy that is coated with lead paint is one example. Even if no present injury exists, parents and the child will need to incur time and expense (and suffer emotional distress) from monitoring the child’s health in the future. “Medical monitoring” claims are often best addressed in class action lawsuits, since they are more likely to impress upon the manufacturer (and the courts) the severity of the problem.
The defective product attorneys in California at The Haeggquist and Eck Firm assist consumers in bringing class action lawsuits to recover compensation for past and future harms that they suffered due to defective products. Nearly any product defect that causes an injury or elevates a risk of future injury may give rise to a class action lawsuit. The following are some of the more common categories of product defects that create liability for manufacturers and sellers.
Class actions are appropriate when a defective component in a car or truck causes accidents that injure drivers or passengers, as well as defective safety devices that fail to protect drivers or passengers from injury. Recent examples of product defects involving vehicles include:
- Exploding airbags.
- Defective ignitions that cause vehicles to lose power.
- Faulty wiring that leads to car fires.
- Defective steering mechanisms.
- Faulty latches that cause hoods to fly open.
- Defective transmissions that unexpectedly shift a car into or out of gear.
- Tires that fail and cause accidents.
Personal Care Products
In an ideal world, cosmetics, toothpaste, body powders, and other personal care products would be perfectly safe. In reality, companies have often marketed personal care products that cause cancer or other serious health conditions. Examples include:
- Talcum powder that increases the risk of ovarian cancer.
- Cosmetics, perfumes, hair sprays, and other care products that injure the reproductive system.
- Tampons that cause toxic shock syndrome.
- Deodorants that irritate skin or cause rashes.
- Hair care products that cause hair loss.
- Hair coloring that causes chemical burns and blisters.
Deceptive advertising can lead some consumers to believe a product is intended to be used dangerously.
Infant Care Products
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, nursery products accounted for more than 69,000 emergency room visits during 2014. Children are particularly vulnerable to injury from products like the following:
- Unsafe child seats.
- Cribs and playpens that allow infants to push their heads between slats or rails.
- Bedding or mattresses that emit toxic gasses.
- Teething rings and baby rattles that pose a choking hazard.
- Teething rings, baby rattles, pacifiers, and bottle nipples that have been manufactured with phthalates, a group of hazardous chemicals associated with reproductive defects.
Many toys are recalled every year due to safety concerns. Almost any kind of toy might be unsafe if it is not property designed or manufactured. Safety hazards include choking on small parts, poisoning from toxic coatings, and eye injuries from toys that have points or jagged edges. Examples of unsafe toys include:
- Scooters that are not properly balanced.
- Dolls with small removable parts.
- Toy cars with detachable wheels.
- Hard plastic toys that easily break.
- Soft plastic toys made from toxic materials.
- Dolls and action figures that are coated with lead paint.
- Electronic toys that cause burns or shocks.
- Toys that easily come apart, exposing screws or other sharp points.
- Small magnets that, when swallowed, cause severe internal injuries.
- Pocket bikes (small motorbikes) that are marketed without appropriate risk warnings.
Athletic products too often increase the risk associated with playing a sport or engaging in a recreational activity. Here are some examples of dangerous sporting goods:
- Defective safety levers on firearms that cause the gun to fire unexpectedly.
- Balancing (exercise) balls that explode when they are over inflated.
- All-terrain vehicles that tip over.
- Snowboard or ski bindings that detach unexpectedly.
- Trampolines with insufficient padding.
- Snorkeling masks that break underwater.
- Unsafe bicycles and tricycles.
Class actions are often initiated on behalf of patients who have been harmed by dangerous drugs when they were not warned about potential consequences of taking the drugs. Here are some examples:
- Anticoagulants that cause internal bleeding.
- Over-the-counter bowel cleansing products that cause kidney failure.
- Proton pump inhibitors that increase vulnerability to broken bones.
- Antidepressants that lead to suicidal behavior.
- Antibiotics that cause tendon ruptures.
- Oral contraceptives that cause strokes, heart attacks, and dangerous blood clots.
- Diabetes drugs that increase the risk of pancreatitis.
Any device that your doctor recommends should be safe and effective. Unfortunately, some cause serious health problems that are not explained to patients who agree to use the devices. Examples include:
- Birth control coils that cause painful complications.
- Defective heart valves.
- Hip and knee implants that fail prematurely, leading to health complications and additional surgery.
- Transvaginal mesh and pelvic sling devices that erode and cause perforation of organs, vaginal bleeding, and chronic infection.
- Bone filling material used in bone grafts that causes respiratory difficulties and dangerous swelling in the neck and throat.
Many products that consumers use in their homes turn out to be dangerous. Defective wiring, inferior materials, and poor design all contribute to consumer injuries. Below is a resource to some common examples:
- Electric blankets that overheat and cause burns.
- Lighters that accidentally ignite or that explode in the consumer’s hand.
- Batteries that overheat and start fires.
- Mattresses that easily catch on fire.
- Improperly vented containers for storing gasoline and other flammable liquids.
- Herbicides and pesticides that poison the people who use them.
- Home construction and appliances
- Appliances and materials used in home construction may create dangers for unsuspecting homeowners. Examples include:
- Refrigerators that spontaneously ignite and start fires.
- Stoves and microwaves that cause handles to overheat, burning product users who touch them.
- Flooring materials that contain formaldehyde or other toxic chemicals.
- Defective smoke detectors and sprinkler systems.
- Gas water heaters that cause residential fires.
- Defective furnaces that leak carbon monoxide.
Defective Product Class Action Lawsuits
In appropriate cases, a California defective product lawyer helps consumers maximize the compensation they receive for injuries caused by defective products. Whether a class action is the right approach to a products liability case requires a careful analysis of the facts and law. The attorneys at The Haeggquist and Eck Firm can advise you whether your injury from a defective product should be pursued as an individual claim or as a class action lawsuit.
How We Help Victims
If you or your loved one suffered from a defective product, speaking with a defective product lawyer in California at The Haeggquist and Eck Firm will help you to better understand your options and help you to make a decision that is in the best interest of you and your family. Our firm has worked with people from all over California such as Orange County, San Diego and Los Angeles to name a few. Call (949) 724-9200 today to obtain a free case evaluation from experienced professionals.