With new technology hitting the stores every single day, product liability cases are popping up in the news more frequently. If you are unfamiliar with the term "product liability," it simply means that a manufacturer holds legal liability for producing or selling a faulty product. We've previously discussed the Georgia specific product liability laws, but it is equally important to take a look at the actual products that are at great risk. In the past few years, you may have seen or heard about various products blowing up, resulting in serious injuries for the consumer.
Frequent product liability cases:
In 2015, Hoverboards were a popular Christmas gift. These boards are essentially self-balancing scooters giving youngsters and adults alike a new way to move through their home or even travel on sidewalks for short distances. As soon as these products hit the stores, safety became a real concern. Schools, universities, shopping malls, airports, and many more public places started to ban the use of Hoverboards in order to protect others around. This is similar to the early 2000 Heely movement, but the difference is that these boards are electronic causing another type of safety concern. Due to certain defects in the electronic board, explosions started popping up across the country resulting in serious injury to the consumer. The issue got so bad that the government actually deemed them completely unsafe for use.
In 2016, the Internet was swarmed with articles discussing defective Samsung phones, specifically the Galaxy Note 7. House fires, car fires, and even plane evacuations occurred within the year due to a battery defect in the Samsung product. The situation was so out of hand that the F.A.A stepped in and highly advised passengers not to use or charge their Galaxy Note 7 while on board an airplane or store them in checked luggage. Samsung stopped production of the product after reports of explosions began and eventually the product was completely discontinued. Although Samsung did acknowledge the issue, people were still injured due to the overheating and explosion of the product, which makes this an example of product liability. The manufacturer did not provide the level of expectation that consumers are entitled to.
In 2017, you may have heard about a similar case where the same type of battery issue caused a wrongful death in New Jersey. This time, however, the battery defect was in an iPad, a popular Apple product. Recently, the daughter of the man that passed away filed suit against Apple for product liability and wrongful death. Again, this is an example of a serious product defect that the manufacturer is being held accountable for.
The most current product facing lawsuit for similar battery defects are e-cigarettes and vapes. People have turned to this popular cigarette alternative in the past two years. Popular brands include, Juul, Blu, and Vuse. Like any other electronically powered device, the safety of the product is questionable. Powered by lithium-ion batteries, there have been cases of the product blowing up in the pockets of consumers and even while they are being used. This presents a new frontier for product liability and consumers should be mindful when using these types of products.
As designers and manufacturers, it is their job to provide a level of care for consumers, but sometimes things slip through the cracks and defective products end up on store shelves. Products that seem harmless end up causing injury and even wrongful death to innocent consumers. This is why Georgia product liability laws exist. If you have been injured or a loved one has passed away as the result of a faulty product, you could be entitled to compensation. At Kaufman Law, we are readily available to answer questions and discuss your potential case. Consultations are always free and we are happy to help you determine the next best steps for your situation. Contact us today.