Product Liability Lawyer in Houston, Texas
It is reasonable to assume that the products you use every day are generally safe. However, this is not always the case. Errors can be made in the design, production, and marketing of consumer products. Occasionally, these errors are not discovered until after they cause devastating personal injury or even death. If you are injured by a defective product in Texas, contact an experienced attorney right away. Here is what you should know.
Although Texas uses comparative negligence for many types of personal injury, it does not apply to product liability. Regardless of whether you were negligent in using the product, if you can prove that it was defective, and the defect caused harm, you can recover damages.
Types of Product Defects
Under Texas law, product defects are divided into three basic types. You must prove that the product had one of these defects, and that the defect led to your injuries, in order to win your case.
Design Defects: A design defect makes the product unsafe even if it is flawlessly manufactured. Note that a product that is clearly dangerous, such as an axe or a firearm, is not the same as a product with a design defect. Injuring yourself with an item that is clearly dangerous is not grounds for a lawsuit. However, a product that is clearly dangerous could *also* have a design defect, such as a gun that fires when the safety is on.
To prove a design defect claim, you must show not only that the design is unsafe, but also that an alternative, less dangerous design was an option. That alternative design must have kept the majority of the item’s utility while lessening the risk of injury, and have been reasonable both technologically and financially. You must also prove that your injuries were a direct result of the design defect.
Manufacturing Defects: A manufacturing defect is generally a problem with production or quality control. It is not present in all, or even most, identical items, but is considered a chance event. For example, a tire might have a catastrophic blowout not caused by a road hazard, or a car seat strap might break. One of the biggest pitfalls in manufacturing defect claims is that you must be able to show clear evidence of the defect, which can be difficult or impossible if the item was destroyed in the incident. Of course, you must also prove that your injuries were caused by the defect.
Failure to Warn: Failure to warn means that the product has a hidden danger that the manufacturer did not properly disclose. Depending on the product, proper disclosure may require a warning label, a warning statement, or instructions for safe use. Examples include bookcases that can fall over if not anchored to the wall and power tools that could catch long hair.
Statute of Limitations and Statute of Repose
In Texas, the statute of limitations (SOL) for a product liability case is two years from the date of injury or the date the injury is discovered. In addition, the statute of repose (SOR) states that you may not file a claim more than 15 years from the date of purchase. There are certain specific conditions that may toll (stop) the clock, but in general it is best to stick to the two year SOL and the 15 year SOR.
Naturally, manufacturers are eager to avoid paying product liability claims, which can be expensive and can bring significant negative publicity. Large companies tend to retain one or more highly skilled attorneys to defend these cases. Therefore, it only makes sense that you need an equally skilled lawyer to ensure that your rights are protected.
Ready to Get Started?
If you believe you have a product liability claim, contact Roberts Markland LLP today at 713-630-0900 for a free case review and consultation.