Portland Dangerous and Defective Products Lawyer
Each year millions of people are injured by products we use at home and at work. For the most part, these injuries are minor, but for some, the repercussions are life-altering. If you have been injured by a product due to a defective in production or by a dangerous side effect, you may be able to bring a product liability claim against the manufacturer or seller for damages sustained. Portland product liability attorney Travis Mayor specializes in helping the victims of defective and dangerous products recover proper compensation. Travis is ready to learn more about your situation and provide insight into what your Oregon injury claim is worth.
Product Liability Claims
In 2012, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission reported 847,755 people were hospitalized as a result of product injuries, and more than 5,400 died. Oregon statutes on Product Liability state a manufacturer, distributor, or seller of a product may be liable for damages if you are personally injured or suffer property damage resulting from:
- The design, inspection, testing, manufacturing, or another defect in a product;
- The failure of the responsible party to warn you about potential defects; or
- Any failure to instruct in the use of the product.
This means if you use a product where the design of the product causes a malfunction or failure of the product, and you are subsequently injured, then you might be able to recover current and future costs associated with your personal injury – a Product Liability claim. The law holds people and companies involved in the chain of manufacturing, distribution, and sales of the product, responsible to ensure the product is safe. If they fail to design, manufacture, or test a product to determine that it is safe and meets the intended product specifications, then they are liable for any injuries associated with the use of the product.
There are several different theories of recovery that form the basis of Product Liability claims and they include Negligence, Breach of Warranty, Misrepresentation, and Strict Liability.
- Negligence refers to actions or inactions that the manufacturer should have performed that caused a lack of reasonable care in the design, production, or assembly of the product, which resulted in causing harm. For example, if a car manufacturer failed to design a car to meet minimum safety standards for crashes, rollovers, deployment of airbags, or seat belt operation, and you sustained injuries because of these defects, then you would be able to bring a Product Liability claim against the car manufacturer, the car distributor, and any third party product suppliers (i.e. the seat belt manufacturer) based upon negligence.
- Breach of Warranty refers to statements or claims made by the manufacturer that a product is fit and safe for its intended use. If you are injured while using a manufacturer’s product then you may have cause to recover your damages suffered.
- Misrepresentation occurs when a manufacturer provides false, misleading, or inadequate information about the product and you rely on this information which causes a personal injury or harm. For example, if you were injured because you used medication or a drug, and the manufacturer failed to inform you of dangerous complications if you are pregnant, then you may have cause to recover your damages.
- Strict Liability cases focus on the product, as opposed to the actions of the manufacturer. If the product is defective then the manufacturer is liable for damages even if the manufacturer was not negligent in producing the product. For example, if a drug manufacturer used adequate care in manufacturing a drug, but the resulting drug was defective, then the manufacturer would be liable.
Types of Product Liability Cases
Motor Vehicle Defects
The classic product liability case for motor vehicles stems from a case involving the design of the Ford Pinto gas tank – a design which knowingly increased the risk of fire and explosion in a rear-impact accident. A jury found Ford knowingly chose the cheaper, less safe design, resulting in many deaths. A jury awarded the plaintiff $2.5 million in compensatory damages and $125 million in punitive damages (later reduced to $3.5 million). Ford based its decision not to “fix” the problem because it would have cost $11 more per vehicle at a total cost of $137 million, as opposed to paying the liability costs associated with 180 deaths, plus 180 burn injuries, plus 2,100 burned vehicles, for a total cost of $49.5 million. – an overall savings of $87.5 million (unless of course, you were one of the fatalities or a jury awards punitive damages). Other current examples of defects that create potential product liability cases include:
- Unintended vehicle acceleration
- Vehicle stability from rollovers and roof crush
- SUV risk of a rollover from instability
- Roof crush — SUVs are three times more likely to roll over in an accident than are other passenger cars
- Containment of occupants in the car
- Protecting occupants from striking parts of the car – airbag failure
- Tire failures
Injuries in the workplace are frequently the result of unsafe equipment designs, improper installation, defective machines or unsafe operating procedures. Third party equipment manufacturer’s, are required by law, to design equipment with adequate safety features and guards to prevent misuse, improper operation, and unsafe conditions. When they fail to do so and their actions are the cause of the injury, then the manufacturer of the equipment may be held liable for your injuries. The employer is usually protected from lawsuits regarding the accident because of workers’ compensation laws, but that does not preclude the employee from seeking recourse from the equipment/machine manufacturer. For example, forklift trucks, conveyors and automated palletizes are common pieces of industrial equipment that frequently are the source of workplace accidents caused by improper guarding, lack of hazard warnings, and control system malfunctions. Other sources of workplace injuries include:
- Electrical shock from faulty components and improper grounding
- Safety interlock failures (mechanical and electrical)
- Machine control system malfunctions
- Construction accidents
- Falling from scaffolds, ladders, and platforms
- Falling objects improperly guarded
- Toxic chemical exposure from improper storage, handling, or safety equipment
Drug-related product liability claims stem from 3 basic types of claims: a) drugs that are incorrectly manufactured; b) drugs with dangerous side effects or increased risk of creating other injuries, and c) improper warnings regarding the use or side effects of the drug. An example of a recent case making national headlines involves the weight loss drugs know as Fen-Phen, Redux, and Pondimin. Before the full extent of the damage was known, over 18 million prescriptions were written, which resulted in approximately 20% of the users suffering from damaged heart valves and Primary Pulmonary Hypertension, which can lead to heart failure. Other current examples of drugs with a history of injuring innocent victims include Accutane, Baycol, Bextra, Rezulin, Serzone, Vioxx, and Zyprexa. For a more detailed list of drug recalls, go to the FDA Drug Recall database.
Medical device product liability claims stem from 3 basic types of claims: a) devices that are incorrectly manufactured, b) medical devices that are defectively designed, and c) improper warnings regarding the use of the medical device. For more information about specific medical devices with potential safety issues visit the FDA Medical Device Safety database. Examples of medical devices with a history of product liability issues include:
- Defibrillators such as the Medtronic Sprint Fidelis Defibrillator Leads
- Stents (tubes, sometimes drug-coated, inserted into an artery to prevent blockage)
- Contraceptive devices such as the Mirena IUD
Compensation for Product Liability Claims
Injuries resulting from defective products can be very costly. Every day we find examples of injuries caused by defective products that result in life-changing events. Chances are if you have experienced a serious accident, then you know you may never return to your pre-accident condition. An experienced Portland product liability attorney will help you through the complex, confusing process of “financially” recovering from the accident. We can help you by obtaining the best settlement, protect your rights, and be treated fairly and with respect. We have been successful in representing hundreds of personal injury cases where we have collected damages to cover the cost of recovery for:
- Medical expenses for both past and future treatments
- Disability and disfigurement
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Dangerous and Defective Product Claims Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Who is responsible for my injuries if I am injured by a defective product?
Answer: Under Oregon’s Product Liability statutes (ORS § 30.900 et seq.), if you are injured by a defective product, then the manufacturer, distributor, seller or lessor of the product may be held liable for your personal injury, death, or property damages.
How long do I have to file an Oregon Product Liability claim?
Answer: Time limitations for filing Oregon product liability claims vary for different types of products and type of injury. In general, claims for personal injury or property damage must be filed within 2 years of discovering the injury, and within 10 years after the date the product was first purchased for use. Claims for death must be filed within three years after the death of the individual, and within 10 years after the date the product was first purchased for use. In addition, all Oregon product liability claims are subject to the expiration of any “statute of ultimate repose”. This means that product liability claims may be barred after the expiration of a defined time period, usually established after the product is first delivered or installed, rather than the date that the product caused harm. In addition, there are exceptions to these general time limitations for damages associated with asbestos-related disease, breast implants, and other specific products. This makes it imperative that you have an experienced Portland Product Liability Attorney review your potential case as soon as possible in order to establish and protect your rights.
What must I prove to win my Oregon Product Liability case?
Answer: Under Oregon law, to win a strict Oregon product liability case you must prove:
- The manufacturer (defendant) engaged in the business of manufacturing, distributing, and/or selling the product;
- The product was defective and unreasonably dangerous;
- The product was not modified prior to being sold to you.
For a product to be defective it must be proven that the product design is unsafe, was manufactured incorrectly, used defective materials, or had inadequate instructions or warnings. To determine if a product is unreasonably dangerous Oregon uses a consumer expectation test (CET), which states “[A] product in a defective condition is “unreasonably dangerous” if it is dangerous to an extent beyond that which would be contemplated by the ordinary consumer who purchases it, with the ordinary knowledge common to the community as to its characteristics.” As is the case with many legal statements, this definition can be confusing and open to interpretation. This is why it is important to discuss your case with an experienced Portland Product Liability Lawyer.
Are manufacturers liable for injuries caused by defective products even though the product contains a warning label?
Answer: Yes. Label warnings and manufacturing defects are recognized as being different in Oregon courts. Just because a warning label may caution against using a product does not mean that such a warning makes the product safe or excuses the manufacturer from liability associated with a defective product.
Portland Product Liability Attorney Travis Mayor, Getting Results for Victims of Dangerous Defective Products
At Mayor Law, it is our goal to help defective and dangerous product victims achieve justice and restore their lives. Defective products do not belong in the stream of commerce, and if any accidentally find their way into stores, the manufacturers need to be held responsible for any injuries caused as a result. Portland product liability attorney, Travis Mayor, will help you by reducing the hassles and inconvenience of your case, so you can focus on recovery. Please review our clients’ personal accounts of working with attorney Travis Mayor: Google+, Yelp, and AVVO pages.