Connecticut has one of the highest per-capita disposable incomes in the United States. So, it makes sense that, per capita, Connecticut sees more products consumed compared to most other states. Consumers use hundreds of products daily, and most pay for them with their hard-earned money. However, these same products can cause damage, which is when you must know what is considered a defective product and when to consult an attorney.
Dealing with a defective product can be more than an inconvenience; it can lead to severe injuries and long-term consequences. When you buy a product, you have a reasonable expectation that it will work safely and as advertised. However, sometimes products fail to meet these expectations due to faulty design, manufacturing errors, or inadequate warnings. If this happens, it’s essential to understand your rights and legal recourse.
According to the NSC’s Injury Facts, in a recent year, an estimated 11.7 million injuries were associated with consumer products, underscoring the pervasive problem of product safety in our everyday lives. Of these reported injuries, 2.7 million came from injuries from using stairs, ramps, floors, or landings, and 824,000 involved mattresses, pillows, or beds.
Defective Product Definition
A defective product fails to offer the safety that a person has a right to expect. This means the product does not meet the usual consumer usage and safety regulations expectations. Defective products can manifest in three primary ways:
- Design defects — These are inherent flaws in a product’s design that make it unsafe when used as intended or in a reasonably foreseeable way. This means the product is hazardous right from the design stage, even before it gets manufactured.
- Manufacturing defects — These defects occur during the product’s manufacturing or assembly process. The product might be well-designed, but errors or faults during its production make it unsafe.
- Marketing defects — These defects typically involve inadequate warnings, incorrect labeling, or insufficient instructions. Essentially, they fail to provide necessary and accurate information to help the consumer safely operate or use the product.
If a product you’re using falls under any of these categories and causes you harm, it’s considered a defective product, and you may have the right to pursue a legal claim for your injuries.
Your Rights as a Consumer
As a Connecticut consumer, laws protect you by holding manufacturers, distributors, and dealers liable for defective items. Connecticut has strong product liability laws that protect consumers from faulty items such as design flaws, manufacturing flaws, and failures to warn.
The cornerstone of these protections is the Product Liability Act, specifically Connecticut Gen. Stat. 52-572n. You can file a claim under this act if you sustain injuries due to a defective product. This statute defines product liability as a claim or action brought by a person for a death, personal injury, or property damage caused by the advertising, assembly, certifying, construction, design, formulation, instructing, labeling, listing, manufacture, marketing, packaging, preparation, processing, selling, standard development, testing, and warning of any product.
You can hold almost any entity involved in bringing a product to market accountable for a fault. Furthermore, in certain circumstances, Connecticut has a “strict liability” approach, which means you don’t need to establish fault, just that the product was defective and caused you to sustain injury.
What Are Some Examples of Product Liability Claims?
Product liability claims may come from various circumstances involving defective or hazardous items. Here are some examples to get you started:
- Defective design — A product’s design makes it inherently dangerous. For instance, a car model may have a design flaw that causes it to roll over easily when turning at high speeds.
- Defective design or a hidden defect with medical devices — Certain medical devices may have design flaws or hidden defects that cause harm instead of healing. For example, a pacemaker malfunctioning due to its design or manufacturing process could pose significant patient risks.
- Defective design with missing safeguards — This product gets designed without necessary safety features. For example, a power tool that doesn’t include a crucial safety guard could lead to accidental injuries during use.
- Failure to warn due to inadequate instructions or safety warnings — Manufacturers must have clear instructions and warnings for their products. A claim could come from a powerful cleaning chemical getting sold without proper instructions or warnings about its potential hazards, leading to chemical burns or inhalation injuries.
- Hidden defects involving dangerous medications — In the pharmaceutical industry, certain medications may have harmful side effects that weren’t disclosed or unknown at the time of release. Patients using these medications could experience severe and unexpected health issues.
- Hidden defects or defective processes resulting in toxic food — Sometimes, defects are not obvious until you use the product. This could happen with food items, where a hidden defect or a flaw in the production process leads to food poisoning or exposure to harmful substances.
- Hidden defects with toxic chemicals in the products — Some products may have toxic chemicals that are not immediately visible. For example, if a toy gets manufactured with toxic paint, children could get exposed to harmful substances.
- Malfunctions — A product that doesn’t operate as intended can cause harm. An airbag that fails to deploy correctly during a car crash could result in more severe injuries than if it had worked as expected.
These examples cover a broad spectrum of situations that can give rise to product liability claims. In each case, the defective product harmed the user, demonstrating the potential risks consumers face daily.
Proving Liability in Connecticut Defective Products Cases
In a defective products case in Connecticut, proving liability requires showing that a product was defective and that this flaw directly caused your injuries. There are three categories of product defects that you could use as the basis for your product liability claim, and they include:
- Design defects — These defects in the product’s design make it inherently dangerous. The burden of proof is on the plaintiff to demonstrate that a safer alternative design was possible and that the chosen one resulted in unnecessary risks.
- Manufacturing defects — These flaws happen during production, often due to quality control failures. You must show the defect occurred during manufacturing and directly caused your injury.
- Marketing defects — These involve inadequate warnings or instructions about the product’s use. The challenge is to show the manufacturer failed to warn of a specific risk, leading to injury.
Connecticut Product Liability Lawyers
A product liability claim might seem daunting, but you don’t have to do it alone. Hassett & George’s experienced product liability attorneys in Connecticut are ready to help you every step of the way. We work tirelessly to get the justice you deserve, leveraging our significant expertise in the legal landscape and commitment to clients.
At Hassett & George, our Connecticut lawyers we have a long history of representing individuals who have sustained injuries from defective products, and we have the experience, knowledge, and resolve to take on these complex cases. When fighting for consumer rights, you can count on Hassett & George to be by your side. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.