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Defective Product Attorneys: For When Consumer Goods Go Bad

Defective products can range from inconvenient to potentially fatal. In seeking justice for the harm caused by bad consumer goods, a defective product attorney may be needed to investigate the source of the issue.

There are (or should be) fail-safes in place to make sure every item you buy, service you use, or food you consume doesn’t cause harm. If you are injured by a defective product, it’s because somewhere along the line, something went wrong.

The attorneys at Osborne & Francis have the experience necessary to help investigate the origin of a product’s defectiveness, and hold the responsible party or parties accountable. If you have questions about a defective consumer product you need answered, call us today at (561) 293-2600.

To learn more about your consumer product protections, and the strict product liability that applies to those who make and sell products, read on.

Table of Contents

A young mother smiles as her school-aged daughter helps shop for groceries.

What Are Consumer Products?

A shorter answer might be to list what aren’t consumer products, because just about everything we buy is a consumer product, aka a “final good” at the end of the manufacturing process. Consumer products are the things we buy online and off shelves.

Here are the main four consumer product categories:

  • Convenience: Frequently bought products that customers rarely go without or even think about because they’re relatively inexpensive. These are products like toothpaste, most grocery items, and pens. They’re products you’d expect to find in any city or small town, mall or gas station, whenever you desire them.
  • Shopping: Products that you buy less frequently and often consider more carefully are shopping products, items like clothing, electronics, furniture, airline tickets, or used cars. This is an area where quality and price make a great deal of difference for consumers.
  • Specialty: The next tier of goods includes specialty brands or niche products. This includes items like high-end cars, designer clothing, or high-quality equipment for photography, sports, or music. Luxury watches and exotic perfumes also fall in this far more expensive category.
  • Unsought: This section includes products you may not think or even know about under normal circumstances. Items like life insurance, engagement rings, and fire extinguishers are examples of rarely-made purchases in this category.

There are different types of marketing needs associated with each category to try and get those items into our lives, and money out of our pockets. For products and services you want or need, that’s an agreeable exchange, but what happens when you’re sold a misleading or defective product? Read on to find out who is responsible.

A young woman happily adds a red toaster to her kitchen.

What Is Product Liability? Who Is Responsible for Defective Consumer Products?

The simple definition for “product liability” means that a manufacturer or trader is held responsible when selling a faulty product. An example is a used car salesman who sells a consumer a ‘lemon car.’ The term ‘lemon car’ is American English slang for a vehicle that looks good on the outside, but actually has manufacturing defects or hidden damages that undercut its utility, value, or safety.

There are so many potential ‘lemon’ products out there that the law has a phrase for them as well. Namely, a ‘lemon law’ refers to statutes adopted in various states that make it easier for a car-buyer “to sue for damages or replacement if the dealer or manufacturer cannot make the car run properly.”

Lemon laws may apply to other consumer products in addition to cars. When a lawsuit is allowed, it’s often a product liability lawyer’s task to investigate and help identify the responsible party. So who might be responsible for product liability?

While they can often overlap, there are three main areas of product liability/responsibility:

Designer Liability

The designer of a product may be responsible if there’s a design flaw that makes the item unsafe when assembled just as they specified.

For example, if a cabinet of drawers has a base so small that you cannot open the top drawer without it overbalancing and falling over, it may not be the manufacturer’s fault. If the designer and manufacturer are separate entities, bad schematics are likely the designer’s error, rather than an assembly issue.

Manufacturer Liability

If the design is good but there’s an issue with the making of a product, the manufacturer may be held liable.

This may happen if the machines that make a product are flawed, such as a stamp that cracks or weakens a product. Another example is if an isolated batch is made incorrectly, causing dangerous contamination. Similarly, food products made with spoiled ingredients could lead to poisoning or injury.

Distributor Liability

A distributor is responsible for properly selling a product. Sellers have an obligation to honestly inform consumers of an item’s limitations, and to resist overpromising via advertising.

For example, promoting an ‘indestructible’ helmet that cracks on impact could lead to serious consumer injury. In this scenario, it may not be the designer or the manufacturer who is responsible for misinforming the customer, but instead the distributor/seller/marketer if they acted independently, and are not associated with the production company.

You may be aware that the product you purchased is defective, but who exactly is responsible for the failure may not be clear. Fortunately, strict product liability law may apply, which lowers the standard of proof for a consumer to a level playing field.

What Is Strict Product Liability?

In strict product liability cases, instead of proving negligence, a consumer and their lawyer need only prove that:

  • The product was unsafe or dangerous by design, manufacture, or distribution
  • The good was intended to meet the customer without alteration between design/manufacture and sale
  • The product caused injury

In negligence cases, intention matters, but under strict product liability law, it may not. The product liability lawyers at Osborne & Francis are equipped to investigate defective consumer products on your behalf, and can help gather the evidence required for full consideration of your rights under the law.

Are Defective Medical Devices Consumer Products?

The office of Osborne & Francis has extensive experience in representing patients injured by defective medical devices such as knee replacement implants, hip replacements, and vena cava (heart vein) implants. These devices are not classified as consumer products because a person cannot buy and implant such a device without a doctor or surgeon.

However, there are consumer medical devices on the market, and they can be dangerous if they are defective, or sold without proper warning and instruction. This includes microneedling kits, home testing supplies for diabetes, and electronic stimulators that could lead to injuries like scarring, infections, or burns.

We at Osborne & Francis are passionate in our advocacy for consumers who have been let down or lied to regarding both consumer products and defective medical devices. If you have questions about a harmful item that has impacted you, call us at (561) 293-2600 for a free consultation regarding your rights.

A gray-haired couple affectionately reviews product labels while shopping together.

What Does a Settlement or Damages Award Mean for Consumers?

If you were sold a defective or dangerous consumer good that caused you injury, a successful verdict or settlement could mean:

  • A refund for the defective item you were sold.
  • Financial support for medical bills due to hospitalization, doctor’s visits, physical therapy, or medication necessary after a defective product injury.
  • Payment for lost wages or employment opportunities if your injury interrupted your work or career.
  • Monetary acknowledgement for pain and suffering due to the damage and stress caused by a defective consumer product.
  • Wrongful death damage awards if the defective product caused or contributed to a loved one’s death.
  • Industry improvements such as a product recall, a change in design safety or manufacturing quality, or life-saving warnings on products.

Seeking legal amends for your situation could help change industry standards, and make the world safer for those around you. Call Osborne & Francis at (561) 293-2600 for dedicated representation.

The items you buy should be for your benefit, not your detriment — call the offices of Osborne & Francis at (561) 293-2600 if you’ve been injured by a consumer product.

Client Reviews and Testimonials for Osborne & Francis

Here are reviews from clients we’ve served in their own words.

I chose Osborne & Francis over several other law firms. I had spoken to them on the phone, and their manner and time spent listening to me was phenomenal. O&F were always there whenever I had even the slightest question or concern, and they treated me as a top priority. I would highly recommend Osborne & Francis, they won't disappoint you if you are at all cautious about the legal process.

Mary M.

I am so grateful to Osborne and Associates for their help with my product liability litigation.  They were wonderful. They did all the work for me so I was able to recover without having to worry about the litigation. I would highly recommend this law firm to anyone who is in need of a team of professional, knowledgeable, and very caring attorneys.

Ana G.

I had a lawsuit regarding a recalled hip, and Osborne & Associates represented me very well. I would recommend them to anyone in need of loyal and extremely helpful attorneys.

Ruth C.

How Can I Contact a Defective Product Attorney?

There is a harmful assumption among the population that injury from a consumer product must be the fault of the customer, but that is simply not the case. When a consumer good is designed, made, or sold irresponsibly, resulting injuries should not be dismissed as merely a matter of ‘user error’ — another party may be liable.

Dangerous product defects deserve full consideration under the law.

If you or a loved one has been harmed by a consumer product, call the offices of Osborne & Francis at (561) 293-2600, or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free and confidential consultation with a product liability attorney. The items you buy should be for your benefit, not your detriment, and we are here to help you seek justice if you were wronged.

Defective Products FAQ

Consumer products are classified within four general categories:

  • Convenience products that are common, inexpensive, and widely available, like toothpaste, most grocery items, and pens.
  • Shopping products purchased less frequently and with more consideration, like clothing, electronics, furniture, airline tickets, or used cars.
  • Specialty products and brands include high-end or luxury items like designer clothing, watches, and equipment for photography, sports, or music.
  • Unsought products are rarely bought, and only under specific circumstances, services or items like life insurance, engagement rings, or fire extinguishers.

Product liability may be proven in areas of design, manufacturing, or selling/distribution. However, injuries from defective products may overlap between these three general categories, and product liability lawyers like we at Osborne & Francis can help investigate the source.

Strict product liability law creates a fair playing field for consumers who are injured by defective products. Instead of having to prove the high standards for intention and negligence, the plaintiff and their legal representatives need only prove:

  • The product was dangerous or unsafe by design, manufacture, or distribution (sale)
  • The good or service was not meant to change between design/manufacture and direct sale to the consumer
  • The product caused injury

Under strict product liability, it may not matter whether someone knew they could cause harm, it only matters that harm was caused.

A defective product lawyer may aid in proving that you were injured by a defective product or consumer good, and help you seek fair treatment under the law. Call Osborne & Francis at (561) 293-2600 for a free and confidential consultation regarding your rights as a consumer.

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