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When Good Products Go Bad

Submitted by jrlaw on May 21st, 2010

The organization called the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has the job of protecting the public from “unreasonable risks of serious injury or death from thousands of types of consumer products.” These products can be anything from toys to food to appliances and more. Any product which poses a hazard (by way of fire, electrical shock, chemical burn, mechanical injury or poison) is not fit for release. Unfortunately, the evaluation process is not flawless and sometimes a dangerous product can be released that’s not ready for the market. This is when product liability becomes an issue.

Though we usually think nothing of bringing home a new household product, there have been many cases of documented injuries that have directly resulted from a marketing defect. The CPSC goes on to say that there were 232,900 toy-related emergency room injuries in the year 2007. That same year, there were 18 total deaths; that doesn’t seem like much when compared to the larger picture, but considering that these deaths actually resulted from a child under the age of 15 playing with a toy, it does bring things into perspective. These deadly toys included tricycles, rubber balls, scooters, balloons, stuffed toys and powered riding toys.

The fact of the matter is that when a company designs products for children they can’t treat these mini-consumers like adults. They cannot expect the child to behave like an intelligent adult. Furthermore, the CPSC believes that products should be designed safely, so that even a full grown adult that makes a silly mistake will not have to worry about physical harm.

There are a variety of marketing defects a plaintiff can sue for, depending on the injury sustained and depending on the circumstances of the product’s use. A marketing defect involves marketing the product in a potentially dangerous way; for example, an adult appliance marketed as a child’s toy would be a marketing defect. All products must carry warnings explaining what is referred to as non-obvious dangers. The company must warn all potential customers of the inherent dangers of such a product in order to avoid product liability.

Remember that there really is no limit on what could be seen as a dangerous product, if there is a true marketing defect. For example, according to the Associated Press a deceased woman’s estate recently sued Blair LLC after the woman, 80-year-old Atwilda Brown, died while making tea. Her bathrobe, made by Blair LLC, caught fire while she boiled a tea kettle. An isolated incident, you ask? Not when you consider that the company has eight other accusations of death by bathrobe. The Blair LLC Company recently recalled 300,000 chenille products in response to the incidents.

Remember the responsibility that the product manufacturer owes you. You should be able to use a product however you see fit, according to the explicit instructions and warnings, and have confidence that it will not lead to serious injury or death. If you have suffered because of a marketing defect you may have a product liability case on your hands. Contact the Rasansky Law Firm at 1-800-ATTORNEY to speak to an experienced attorney who can help you with your case!