When the latest new product puts you on your back

product liability | January 23, 2017

Dangerous products, also called product liability, is an area of law that is familiar to people, but at the same time surprisingly new.

Familiar cases involve defective tires and brakes, water heaters that cause fires and scaldings, and everyday products that fail to contain necessary safety instructions. Our firm has been effectively seeking compensation for such injuries for years.

But because ours is a dynamic and innovative economy, new dangers are always crowding onto the market. These new dangers have little case law behind them, so they can require new thinking and up-to-date knowledge of the law as it evolves.

Examples of these new issues:

Driverless cars. Five years ago, no one was talking about autonomous vehicles. Now we are on the brink of major rollouts of driverless cars and trucks. Litigation will swing from negligent drivers to negligence owing to poor design, a bug in the software, mechanical failures and unforeseen situations.

Flammable cell phones. You remember the massive recall of Samsung smartphones in 2016. Chances are, another product will cause similar injuries in the weeks and months ahead. Samsung this week announced that the firs were caused by batteries that were the wrong size,

Exploding e-cigarettes. Electronic cigarettes were supposed to be a safer way to get nicotine into your system. But they’re not safe when they explode in your pants pocket.

Drugs causing serious side effects. Every year the Food & Drug Administration OKs new pharmaceuticals. In 2016 the FDA listed 22 novel drugs, addressing a wide variety of problems. A recent study, for instance, links heartburn proton pump inhibitors like popular products like Nexium (esomeprazole) and Prilosec (omeprazole) with dangerous stomach infections. Drugs are always put on the market with high hopes and high profit margins – until the side effects and contraindications become clear. Too often, a sickened public ends up providing the research data the drug companies were in too big of a hurry to collect. When that happens, product liability suits are your only means of obtaining compensation and closure.

Medical devices that fail. Manufacturers have been known to skip critical testing in order to ship products to market. Device makers must take steps to ensure that their products are safe. Consumers pay the price for their recklessness: life-altering complications, time lost from work, even homes foreclosed and hopes dashed when victims experience financial crisis following injury.

Car recalls. The latest major recall, initiated this month, involves Volvos: S60 and S60 Cross Country, V60 and V60 Cross Country, and XC60 vehicles manufactured August 16, 2016, through October 21, 2016. Driver and passenger side-mounted side airbags may fail to ignite in the event of a collision.

These are just a few of the product liability issues that are heating up today. The Sacramento product liability lawyers at Rosenthal Law take pains to stay up to date on emerging product liability problems. If a new product is causing you serious problems, call us today.