When you have been injured because of a defective product, you need to prove the essential elements of your claim before you can prevail. The elements are not the same for every product liability lawsuit in Texas, but in general, you will need to show that:
- You were injured or incurred other losses because of the product;
- The product was defective; and
- Your injury or loss was caused by the product’s defect.
Because there are several ways to proceed with a defective product claim, it helps to talk with a Dallas product liability attorney about the options available in your case.
Which elements do you need to prove in your Texas product defect case?
How your case proceeds will be based on who the defendants are and how the defects occurred.
The three primary ways a product may be defective are by a defective design (all copies of the product would then be defective), by a manufacturing defect (some copies of the product would be defective depending on how widespread the manufacturing flaw was), or a failure to warn of the risks of the product.
When a claim for one of these flaws is against a manufacturer, the case can often be brought on a theory of strict liability. In other cases, the plaintiff may also need to prove that the defendant was negligent.
In a strict liability defective product case, the plaintiff does not need to prove that the defendant was negligent but must still prove that:
- The product was defective;
- The product’s defect was dangerous;
- The defect caused the injury; and
- The product was not changed after leaving the manufacturer;
If the defendant is someone other than the manufacturer, for example, a third party that modified the product before it reached consumers, then the plaintiff may also need to prove negligence – that the defendant owed a duty, breached that duty, and that the breach caused the injury or property damage.
Proving the product was defective
How you prove that a product was defective depends on the type of defect claimed.
Design defect – The plaintiff must show that the product was inherently dangerous because of its design – this means that it was dangerous even if constructed exactly to its specifications. Under Texas statute, a plaintiff must show that:
- A safer design alternative was available;
- The safer alternative design likely would have prevented or significantly reduced the risk of injury or damage without substantially impairing the product’s utility;
- The safer alternative design was economically and technologically feasible at the time the product was released from the manufacturer’s or seller’s control; and
- The defect was a cause of the injury or property loss.
In other words, if the designer could have used a safer design but did not, it will likely be liable for injuries and property losses that result from the more dangerous design.
Manufacturing defect – When it comes to a problem in the manufacturing process, the requirements are not as clear-cut. The plaintiff must generally show that there was a deviation from the design and that it caused a dangerous product flaw.
Manufacturing defects can be more difficult to prove than design defects. Manufacturing problems are often sporadic and undocumented, so they do not leave the same paper trail as design defects. Your Dallas personal injury lawyer will determine a strategy for proving this kind of case based on his or her experience and understanding of the law.
Failure to warn – A product may be designed and manufactured properly but still be defective because it does not provide adequate warning of its risks.
Where the product’s labeling or design meets relevant federal standards, the manufacturer is presumed to have met its burden and, therefore, to not be liable for resulting injuries. However, a presumption does not fully determine a case. The plaintiff may still show that the regulations were insufficient or that the manufacturer hid information related to the product’s safety when applying for federal approval.
Discuss your case with an experienced lawyer
When you are enduring the aftermath of an injury caused by a defective product, you no doubt have countless questions about what to do next. Cast your worries aside with the help of an experienced product liability lawyer.
The Dallas product liability lawyers at Crowe Arnold & Majors, LLP are dedicated to representing those who have been injured by someone else’s actions. Our team understands the obstacles you face in recovering from an accident and holding those to blame responsible.
Call or fill out our contact form today to discuss your case for free. Consultations are always free and confidential.