Defective consumer products can easily cause serious injuries or fatalities to innocent users.

It seems like faulty products are all over the news these days. There have been countless stories about everything from potentially deadly airbags made by Japanese auto parts manufacturer Takata injuring people with flying shrapnel to flawed coffee Black & Decker coffee pots causing serious burns to people just trying to have their morning "cup of joe." If you or someone you love has been injured by a defective product, you understand the full range of emotions associated with such an incident.

There is anger that something innocuous that you use as part of your everyday routine has resulted in a life-changing injury. Next, often comes frustration as you try to determine why and how the injury happened. This often involves tedious research to determine if there have been other complaints about this or similar products (an indication could be that a product has been recalled for safety reasons), if it is something that resulted from a defective design, whether there was a glitch in the manufacturing process, or if there should have been a warning label to suggest such an injury could occur. Then, you could be left feeling overwhelmed as you attempt to determine whether or not you should bring a legal claim to seek the compensation you genuinely feel you deserve to cover medical bills, lost wages, property damage and other losses you have suffered.

The basics of consumer products claims

There are three general types of defective consumer products legal claims:

  • Design defect - something went awry in the design of the product, resulting in an end result that is inherently unsafe or likely to fail even when used as intended.
  • Defect in manufacturing - the product was properly designed but somehow flawed during the manufacturing process; this could happen if there was an issue with the manufacturing line itself, if substandard materials were used, if proper product finishing wasn't done and for other reasons.
  • Insufficient/inadequate warnings - this is particularly true when products could be dangerous even when used exactly as they were intended. Take, for example, a hair dryer. Hair dryers are not seen as inherently hazardous products, but if you've never used one before, you might not realize that they operate by means of forcing air over an internal heating element. If you hold that heating element or the air exhaust too close to your skin, you could receive a nasty burn. Without adequate warnings to users, they might not otherwise be aware of the hazards.

If you have been injured by a defective consumer product, don't think you need to navigate the legal system alone. Seek the advice of an experienced products liability attorney in your area for more information about your next steps; let them do the "heavy lifting" on the legal claims so that you can focus on getting better. Most personal injury attorneys - including those at the renowned New York law offices of Smiley & Smiley - offer a free initial consultation and handle claims on a contingency fee basis so that you won't owe them any attorney fees unless they recover compensation for you.