San Antonio Product Liability LawyerEvery day, the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) updates its list of product recalls. This list is a sobering reminder of the various and unexpected dangerous consumer products circulating throughout the country. Children’s nightgowns, tea kettles, ATVs, essential oils, water bottles, chairs, dishwashers, and board games are only a few of the current recalls. The public risks posed include burns, poisoning, choking, strangulation, and electric shock. Unfortunately, many of these risks disproportionately endanger San Antonio children. The dedicated San Antonio product liability lawyers at Wyatt Law Firm might help you hold designers, distributors, manufacturers, and commercial retailers responsible for the serious injuries often associated with dangerous goods. Our product liability team has recovered millions for clients wrongfully harmed by defective and dangerous consumer goods. Contact our San Antonio injury attorneys for free today online or by calling (210) 340-5550.
Understanding Product Liability Lawsuits & ProtectionsProduct liability is a civil cause of action (tort) alleging that product creators, manufactures, or sellers developed and/or marketed unsafe consumer goods. Products subject to potential lawsuits include:
- Drugs (prescription or over-the-counter)
- Foods and supplements
- Pet products
- Building materials
- Kitchen supplies
- Sports gear
- Lawn and outdoor equipment
- Motor vehicles (cars, ATVs, bicycles)
- Gas and oil
- Medical devices
Breach of the Warranty of FitnessSellers and designers must create products safe for their intended and reasonably foreseeable uses. For example, IKEA recently recalled certain bowls and mugs because they could break and cause hot foods and liquids to burn consumers. Because mugs and bowls primarily exist to hold hot liquids, these products were not fit for their intended use. However, these claims often involve more subtle forms of liability. The product may not have any defects but was simply not safe for the target market. For example, games with small pieces marketed to young children contain choking hazards, making them unfit for children younger than five. However, the game pieces aren’t defective in and of themselves. The company might have avoided liability if they marketed the game only to children over 12 years old. These claims often involve products improperly marketed to kids and industry professionals.
Failure to WarnLike breach of warranty claims, failure to warn claims may not involve defective products. These claims allege that the designer and/or seller failed to properly explain how to safely use the product or warn consumers about foreseeable dangers. Examples include not informing chefs about potentially flammable aprons or failing to warn SUV drivers about common rollover risks. These claims commonly arise when pharmaceutical companies fail to warn users about potentially serious side effects, including addiction risks. Because these products are safe when consumers use them as intended, San Antonio claimants must show that the dangerous use was reasonably foreseeable. For example, driving SUVs quickly around highway curves is a reasonably foreseeable use meriting a rollover warning. However, teenagers eating Tide Pods is likely not a reasonably foreseeable use. Generally, we would not expect detergent pod manufacturers to need to warn reasonable consumers not to eat laundry soap.
Strict LiabilityGeneral manufacturing and design defect cases fall into this category. Exploding kitchen appliances, products produced with unsafe materials, failed brakes, or dangerous items without proper safety mechanisms might all support strict product liability cases in San Antonio. Examples include prescription drugs manufactured with cancer-causing chemicals, cars manufactured with defective accelerators, or toasters with faulty electrical wiring.
Most Common Injuries Caused by Defectively Designed and Marketed Consumer ItemsDangerous products can injure anyone, from children to construction professionals. Among the most common non-fatal injuries caused by dangerous items include:
- Anoxic/Hypoxic Brain Injuries - This brain trauma occurs when the brain does not receive enough oxygen. Brain cells begin dying after only four minutes without sufficient oxygenated blood, often leading to permanent brain damage. Many choking cases involve complete or partial airway obstructions resulting in brain cell death and lifetime cognitive disabilities. Drug overdoses can also result in oxygen deprivation injuries, as medications such as fentanyl slow breathing.
- Thermal Burns - Heat burns caused by flammable clothing and chemicals, overheated components, explosions, and defective heat-proof/safety products commonly lead to product liability cases. Full-thickness burns (third and fourth degree) result in permanent cell death and disfigurement.
- Electrical Burns - Electrocutions from dangerous appliances, tools, and technology often cause internal burns and organ damage. Serious electrocutions due to defective electrical safety equipment or large appliances may cause paralysis, brain trauma, or death.
- Falls - Dangerous stools, ATVs, chairs, shoes, and ladders often result in debilitating falls. Many serious falls cause traumatic brain injuries, paralysis, or back and neck trauma.
- Crushing Fractures - Falling furniture, such as the IKEA dresser, has crushed young children. Likewise, workplace tractors and heavy machinery have permanently disabled construction workers in run-over accidents. Crushing injuries often prove fatal when heavy items shatter the rib cage, damaging the heart and lungs.
- Blindness - Dangerous chemicals, including products without proper interaction warning labels, and explosions often cause blindness. Injured repair professionals may suffer from blinding explosions when they’re working directly with the dangerous item.
- Cancer & Poisoning - Some over-the-counter medications, including Zantac, contained cancer-causing chemicals. Similarly, certain children’s toys may contain harmful levels of lead. Claimants who developed cancer or liver toxicity from unreasonably dangerous medications, contaminated products, or old construction materials might demand damages. Likewise, claimants who developed cancers from long-term cigarette use before the current warning system might demand damages.
- Amputations and Organ Damage - Surprisingly, medical implants and related products are far less regulated than medications. This leads to multiple dangerous medical product lawsuits involving dangerous medical meshes, failed hip implants, and leaking breast implants.
Parties Potentially Liable for Dangerous ProductsDangerous products and failure to warn cases involve unique liability laws. Because everyone in the retail chain, including product creators/designers, parts manufactures, wholesalers, and retailers (in-store and online) profit from consumer goods, all parties in this chain might be strictly liable for damages. In many states, the law assumes all parties bear liability unless they show the product was safe when passed down the chain. For example, product designers could show that the item had a safe design but there was incorrect assembly by component manufacturers. Manufacturers could also prove that the product was safe when received by the commercial retailer, but the retailer sold the product after its expiration date.
In Texas, commercial sellers have protection from general product liability claims under Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 82.003 unless claimants prove that the seller:
- Knew about the defect when they sold the product or sold recalled items
- Helped design the product
- Manufactured the product, like Amazon-branded items
- Altered and modified the item and this modification caused the injury
- Installed/assembled the product, and the injury resulted from the assembly/installation
- Had substantial control over the warning, and the injury resulted from insufficient warnings
- Made incorrect factual representations about a product leading to injuries
- Sold products from a now insolvent (bankrupt) manufacturer or one not subject to jurisdiction in Texas courts
Claimants Eligible to Bring San Antonio Product Liability CasesMost product liability claimants either purchased or received new products for personal use. However, Texas product liability laws protect all reasonably foreseeable product users, including household members, friends, and neighbors. These protections might extend to neighbors borrowing hedge trimmers, teenagers driving parents’ cars, newlyweds using gifted appliances, and toddlers injured by parents’ workout equipment. Narrow liability limitations apply when the product prohibits use by unauthorized parties, provides clear warnings about potential child safety dangers, or unforeseeable persons utilized it. For example, adult claimants who take another person’s prescription medications, children injured when parents don’t follow storage safety guidelines for household chemicals, or laypersons harmed by illegally obtained medical devices might not qualify for compensation.
Defenses to Dangerous Product Lawsuits in San AntonioIt’s common for commercial insurers to immediately blame the claimant for misusing their insured’s product. As such, San Antonio claimants should understand the following most common defenses to strict product liability.
Unforeseeable AlterationsClaimants may not demand damages for injuries caused by products, generally appliances and technology, they opened and modified if this modification caused the injury. For example, claimants may not demand damages from John Deere if they upgraded their lawn mower’s motor to give it more power. Claimants might recover damages, however, if the manufacturer knew this was a common modification and did not sufficiently warn against or prevent such modifications.
Statute of Limitations & ReposeSan Antonio product liability claimants have two years to file litigation following the injury and a maximum of fifteen years to file claims from the purchase date. Certain factors extend this timeline, including:
- Minority at the time of injury (under age 18)
- Mental disability caused by the dangerous product, like a coma or cognitive disability
- Products containing cancer-causing asbestos or silica (Tex. Stat. § 16.0031)
- Extended written warranties
Assumption of RiskThis defense no longer bars personal injury recovery in Texas, but commercial insurers will still shift blame onto claimants. In rare cases, courts may bar recovery if the warnings were clear and the claimant knowingly used a potentially dangerous product. The most common example includes using prescription medication with clear warnings about potential side effects. The dedicated San Antonio product liability lawyers at Wyatt Law Firm understand insurer tactics and defend their clients from legally irrelevant assumptions. Don’t take on high-value insurers and corporate defense attorneys without experienced legal counsel. Paula Wyatt and her defective products team have recovered $9,726,995.16 for the family of a victim killed by a defective tire, $9,076,736.13 after a defective fan burned a child, $2,017,348.85 after our client suffered a traumatic brain injury due to a malfunctioning smoke detector, and $1,891,849.42 after a defective Christmas tree burned our client.
Recovering Damages in San Antonio Dangerous Product CasesWhether you suffered injuries from ruptured breast implants, defective fire detectors, or dangerous kitchen appliances, successful claimants might demand the following damages in Texas product liability cases:
- Direct Economic Damages - Reimbursement for past and future medical expenses, lost wages, lost career benefits, and household assistance
- Pain and Suffering, Impairment and Other Damages - Compensation for the incalculable losses associated with devastating injuries, including physical pain, emotional anguish, inconvenience, frustration, lost enjoyment of life, impairment, loss of consortium, and disfigurement
- Exemplary (Punitive) Damages - In rare cases, claimants may demand extra damages unrelated to their actual losses if manufacturers knew about the product’s dangerous propensities and refused to issue recalls or warnings
- Property Damage - Sometimes, defective products were expensive or caused extensive damage; for example, faulty heating elements in dishwashers burning down homes. Injury lawyers can generally demand compensation for injuries to property and persons
San Antonio Product Liability FAQsFrom cars and dishwashers to antacids and nightgowns, any product can contain dangerous defects. If you were injured or poisoned by a consumer item, discuss your right to demand compensation with the San Antonio products liability lawyers at Wyatt Law Firm. We’ve recovered millions for clients injured by dangerous and defective goods and medications.
Q. What are some examples of product liability cases?Products liability lawsuits cover nearly anything you can buy. This includes:
- Pets and farm animals
- Motor vehicles
- Implanted medical devices
- Consumer goods
- Exercise equipment
- Construction materials
- Gas and oil
Q. Are product liability cases the same as negligence cases?While product liability claims often involve negligence, product liability is a distinct legal claim in the United States. It stands for the principle that if companies are profiting from consumers, they must ensure they’re producing safe items fit for their intended uses. Four main types of product liability claims exist in Texas:
- Strict Liability - Most product liability cases involve strict liability. This puts manufacturers, designers, and/or sellers on the hook for injuries caused by defective products even if they exercised extreme care during product development.
- Negligence - Product liability based on negligence alleges that the product designer or manufacturer carelessly produced and sold the product, such as sourced substandard materials or incorrectly manufactured parts.
- Breach of Warranty - These claims alleged that the product didn’t perform as marketed and wasn’t fit for its intended use. For example, treadmills that overheat during workouts or prescription medications that don’t treat illnesses as marketed. Common breach of warranty claims include marketing dangerous products to the wrong age group, such as toys for infants with small pieces and strangulation hazards.
- Failure to Warn - Even products without any defects can still cause injuries when manufacturers don’t provide proper use instructions or fail to warn about potentially dangerous side effects, ingredients, or uses.
Q. Can I sue product designers and/or sellers if I borrowed or was gifted a product?Designers must make products safe for their intended use, which includes anticipating who might utilize their items. The user must be reasonably foreseeable. Parties eligible to file product liability cases generally include household members, gift recipients, and neighbors (casual borrowers). If you borrowed a defective lawnmower from your neighbor and suffered injuries, you might sue the manufacturer for damages. Likewise, parents might recover product liability damages if their children choked on their playmates’ toys. Adult children could also obtain compensation if they suffered injuries due to defective airbag systems in their parents’ vehicles, and repairmen might sue oven manufacturers if the appliance explodes. However, manufactures might defeat liability claims if someone uses the product in unlawful, unforeseeable, or unreasonable ways. Examples include eating Tide Pods or using industrial glue as hairspray.
Q. How can I find out whether a product was subject to a recall in San Antonio?The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) provides a detailed list of currently recalled products and their discovered dangers. This list includes everything from ATVs and dishwashers to toxic children’s games and flammable nightgowns. Claimants and parents of children injured by dangerous products should consult this list to determine whether they have strict liability claims against product designers and sellers. However, the list is not exclusive and does not control claimants’ recovery rights. It simply describes reported dangerous products and indicates potential class action liability. These products currently include various items such as:
- Nearly 100,000 dangerous Gramr tea kettles
- About 42,000 Cove dishwashers
- Over 1.5 million Klein voltage testers
- About 50,000 CamelBak water bottles
- All Fisher-Price 4-in-1 Rock ‘n Glide infant rockers
- Over 100,000 IKEA plates, bowels, and mugs
Q. Can I sue product manufactures and sellers if an adult product injured my child?Product designers and sellers must make products safe for all foreseeable users. In many cases, this includes children likely to come into contact with the item. Potentially dangerous household products, from pain medication to detergent pods, should contain childproof caps to prevent accidental ingestion. When this isn’t possible, manufacturers must generally provide clear warnings that parents should keep products away from children. Manufacturers could bear liability for serious child injuries and deaths when they do not take these reasonable precautions. Even when they do provide warnings, sometimes this isn’t enough. Products must also be safe for their intended use. Manufacturers cannot sell toys for young children while simultaneously warning parents about choking hazards.
Q. Can San Antonio families file product liability claims if loved ones died due to defective products or parts?Accidental poisonings and dangerous products kill thousands of innocent consumers each year. Unfortunately, many of these deaths involved infants and young children. San Antonio families might recover personal injury damages on behalf of loved ones fatally injured by dangerous products. These lawsuits, called wrongful death cases, allow spouses, adult children, and/or parents to demand product liability damages from all potentially liable defendants. Damages may include the same losses recoverable in general personal injury litigation plus funeral expenses, end-of-life care, and special damages for minor children and spouses. In some cases, families might also demand punitive damages if manufacturers knew about potentially fatal defects and refused to issue recalls for financial purposes. The Ford Pinto Case exemplifies these claims.
Q. What types of injuries can I recover damages for in product liability lawsuits?San Antonio claimants injured by dangerous items suffer from various injuries and illnesses. Defective products may result in everything from cancer to third-degree burns. In many cases, our dedicated attorneys see these injuries and medical conditions:
- Electrical burns and electrocutions
- Thermal burns
- Facial lacerations
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Organ failure
- Back and neck trauma
- Punctured lungs
- Liver toxicity (poisoning)
- Carbon Monoxide poisoning
Q. How long do I have to file a product liability claim in Texas?Texas has both a statute of limitations and a statute of repose in product liability cases. The statute of limitations is two years from the date of injury. This means claimants must file litigation, not just insurance claims, no later than two years after suffering harm from the defective product. Certain factors can extend the statute of limitations, including age and disability. For example, children injured by defective products generally have two years from their 18th birthday to file product liability claims. Exceptions might also apply to claimants suffering from delayed onset injuries, generally cancers that didn’t manifest until decades after chemical exposure. The statute of repose acts as an absolute bar to product liability litigation in Texas. Claimants cannot file product liability cases more than fifteen years after the company initially sold the product. This means San Antonio residents injured by an appliance purchased in 2000 cannot generally hold the manufacturer or seller liable for damages. The statute of repose protects sellers from litigation involving deteriorating products, but some sellers warrant their products for longer. Injured clients may hold sellers liable for breach of written warranties, like 25-year or lifetime warranties on valuable products, through contract litigation. Experienced product liability lawyers may help injured claimants calculate their most pressing litigation and claims deadlines.
Q. Have you successfully recovered damages in Texas product liability cases?Paula Wyatt and her experienced San Antonio product liability lawyers obtained the following recent product liability verdicts/settlements:
- $9,726,995.16 for the family of a victim killed by a defective tire
- $9,076,736.13 for a child burned by a dangerous fan
- $2,017,348.85 after a malfunctioning smoke detector contributed to brain trauma
- $1,891,849.42 for burns caused by a defective Christmas tree
Q. How long does it take to recover product liability compensation?Product defects frequently involve major recalls and potential class-action lawsuits. As such, manufactures often fight dangerous product claims for years to avoid liability in thousands of other cases. Sometimes the quickest way of recovering compensation requires confidentially settling claims with corporate insurers. Many viable product liability claims settle shortly after claimants medically recover or reach maximum improvement, as this allows attorneys to calculate and demand reasonable damages. In disabling injury cases—including traumatic brain injuries, paralysis, blindness, late-stage cancer, or widespread burns—medical and occupational experts should help claimants calculate their future damages. It generally takes longer to settle serious product injury claims, especially if the cases involve litigation. Some claims settle more quickly if manufacturers voluntarily recalled the product and set up settlement funds. No matter how long a claim might take, it is worth it to recover the compensation you deserve.
Q. How much does it cost to hire a San Antonio product liability lawyer?It generally costs claimants nothing upfront or out-of-pocket to retain dedicated product liability lawyers. Injury attorneys accept cases on a contingency fee basis, which means they don’t get paid unless they obtain needed compensation for their clients. Most reputable product liability firms even front all litigation costs and expert witness fees, which claimants need to fight experienced corporate defense teams. If dangerous product lawyers recover settlements or verdicts for clients, they will take a pre-agreed-to percentage of the recovery as their fee. The exact amount depends on the nature of the litigation (national class action v. individual personal injury), state law, and the scope of representation. Consider the following common fee structure used in San Antonio product liability cases:
- Initial Offer from the Insurer: $50,000
- Final Paid Product Liability Verdict: $1 million
- Law Firm Fee: 40 percent of $1 million = $400,000
- Remaining Balance = $600,000
- Court Costs & Litigation Fees = $50,000
- Remaining Balance = $550,000
- Outstanding Medical Liens = $50,000
- Total Client Take Home = $500,000
Q. What’s the average dangerous product settlement?Product liability cases generally involve higher-than-average injury settlements—often in the six or seven figures—because the law allows claims against multiple defendants in the manufacturing chain. Large corporations also carry high-value commercial insurance policies that cover most product liability demands. Ultimately, settlements/verdicts depend on the claimant’s actual losses and overall damages. Factors affecting settlement values include the claimant’s
- Salary, business income, and/or earning capacity
- Past and future lost wages and benefits
- Past and future medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Injury severity
- Liable parties
- Number of claimants
- Insurance limits
- Available evidence
- Disability level
- Attorney experience
Connect With a Dedicated Product Liability Attorney in San AntonioIt’s nearly impossible to recover compensation from large corporations and their aggressive risk management teams without an experienced dangerous products lawyer on your side. At Wyatt Law Firm, we’ve recovered over half a billion dollars for our injured clients and tens of millions for clients and family members injured by dangerous consumer goods. Call us today at (210) 340-5550 or contact us online for your free and confidential San Antonio product liability consultation.
Paula and her team at Wyatt Law Firm represented me professionally and fought hard for every dollar to the very end! She takes her cases personal and actually gets to know you, building a great relationship! She put me in touch with world class doctors right here in Texas! I could not be more pleased!!! I would definitely recommend Wyatt Law Firm to anyone in need of an attorney! At the end of the day, they offer caring, stress free, professional, hard working, services to hard working and honest American people! Don’t waste your time elsewhere!!!
Wyatt Law Firm, PLLC 21 Lynn Batts Lane, Suite 10 San Antonio, Texas 78218