When we buy products from the store, we expect them to be safe. Some products, however, are defective and can injure consumers. Sometimes, products are defectively designed. Other times, the design is safe, but a mistake was made during manufacturing that made the product dangerous. When these issues arise and injure people, those who are responsible can be held accountable.
In a recent state Supreme Court decision, the court considered a defective design products liability claim. An electric terminal manufacturer produced two functionally identical products for the same cost for over a decade, but the older of the two designs were more susceptible to failure. When a corporate affiliate of the manufacturer chose to use the older version when manufacturing new air conditioning products, a technician experienced severe burns when the product ignited and overheated. A jury concluded that the older design was unreasonably dangerous, and the failure of the manufacturer to warn of this hazard caused the technician’s injury. The manufacturer appealed.
On appeal, the state Supreme Court affirmed the lower court’s decision and held that the jury’s finding of a design defect did not result in an improper verdict. To find that a defective design caused an individual’s injuries, a plaintiff must prove that (1) the product was defectively designed and unreasonably dangerous, (2) a safer alternative existed, and (3) the defect was the cause of the injury. Because the jury found that the product was unreasonably dangerous and caused the technician’s injuries and that the manufacturer failed to adequately provide warnings about potential hazards, the Supreme Court affirmed. In addition, since there was another product that was functionally identical but less susceptible to failure, all three factors were met.
There are generally three types of product liability claims in Maryland: manufacturing defects, design defects, and marketing defects. Manufacturing defects involve faults that occur in the process of building or manufacturing the product. Design defects indicate that the product itself is inherently flawed because of how it was designed. Finally, marketing defects involve a manufacturer’s failure to warn consumers of potential hazards or risks associated with using the product.
What Is Strict Liability?
In Maryland, strict liability laws apply to manufacturers and sellers of products if certain conditions are met. This means that manufacturers and sellers are responsible for any injuries because of the defective product, even if the item was used carefully. If the product was in a defective condition when it left the possession of the seller, if it was unreasonably dangerous to the consumer, if the defect caused injuries or property damage, or if the product was expected to and did not reach the consumer without substantial change in condition, the seller may be strictly liable. This means that the plaintiff does not need to prove a specific act of negligence to recover.
Do You Need a Maryland Products Liability Attorney?
If you or someone you know has been recently injured due to a dangerous or defective product, contact the Maryland product liability attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen today. Our attorneys have recovered more than $80 million for our clients and will work to get you the compensation you deserve. To schedule a free initial consultation today, contact us at 800-654-1949.