NEW MEXICO PRODUCT LIABILITY LAWYERS
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We expect any products we buy to be safe and function as intended. Unfortunately, some products may be defective, or the manufacturer may have failed to properly warn you of certain dangers when using the product. These defects may increase the risk of injury.
If you or a loved one has been injured while using a product, you should consult the New Mexico product liability lawyers at Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a free consultation. If we are unable to win your case, you will not owe us anything.
WHAT IS PRODUCT LIABILITY?
Product liability is the legal obligation imposed on manufacturers, distributors, or retailers to ensure that products sold to consumers are not defective and will not harm the consumer when the product is used as intended. If the product does harm the consumer because of a defect or because the product did not include sufficient warning against the danger, the victim may be able to sue:
- The company that manufactured the defective product or failed to include proper warnings,
- The distributor that operated within the supply chain between the manufacturer and the consumer, or
- The retailer that ultimately sold the defective product to the consumer.
By applying product liability to any party involved in the designing, manufacturing, or selling of a product, the law incentivizes each party to take steps to ensure a product’s safety before it reaches the consumer and causes injury.
Meanwhile, there are typically three ways in which a party may be held liable for a defective product:
A design defect occurs when the product was already unsafe even before it was manufactured. Even if a product is manufactured correctly and is used properly, it may cause injury if there was a design flaw that made the product inherently dangerous. Design defects impact every product made according to these designs and may lead to widespread injury. Product recalls may occur when design defects are discovered by a manufacturer, often after injuries have already been suffered.
Manufacturing defects may occur even when the product was designed well and would not ordinarily be an inherently dangerous product if manufactured correctly. However, sometimes products are manufactured incorrectly. Manufacturing defects may arise when workers use defective parts or improperly deviate from the design. Manufacturing defects may involve a single defective product or a wide assortment of defective products manufactured before the mistake may have been discovered or fixed.
Marketing Defect (Failure to Warn)
Finally, product liability may still apply even if a product did not have any design flaws or manufacturing defects. In some cases, manufacturers may fail to properly warn consumers on the proper assembly or use of a product, or the potential risks of injury that using the product may incur.
Many products are inherently dangerous, such as lawnmowers, power tools, or saws. If a manufacturer fails to adequately warn consumers of the dangers associated with the proper use of a product, and a consumer is injured while using the product in its intended manner or in a manner that was foreseeable to the manufacturer, the victim may be able to seek compensation against any party involved in the supply chain for the defective product.
TYPES OF PRODUCT LIABILITY CLAIMS
Defective Medical Devices
Medical devices must generally be approved by the FDA before use. However, certain defects or harmful effects of the medical devices may take months or even years of use before being discovered, after which time the defective product may have caused severe and often long-lasting side effects or injuries to the victim(s). For example, some types of breast implants, birth control implants, joint replacements, or devices have been later found to have caused negative side effects in those who used these devices.
The FDA also regulates prescription medications, and it must approve any medication before it can be prescribed by a doctor. However, as with some medical devices, it may take months or years of use before dangerous side effects are discovered and traced to the medication. Dangerous drugs may be on the market for years before these side effects are connected to the medication, during which time countless others may suffer harm from taking the medication. Examples of dangerous drugs include various antidepressants, antipsychotics, certain birth control pills, and certain blood pressure medications. If you are harmed by a dangerous drug, the pharmaceutical company that manufactured the drug may be liable for your injuries in addition to the doctor that prescribed the medication to you.
Defective Children’s Toys
Children may often be especially vulnerable to defective products, as they may be unable to read warning signs or to take precautions to protect themselves. Some toys may be defectively designed or made in a dangerous manner such that the toy becomes a choking, suffocation, or strangulation hazard if the child accidentally swallows the product. A product may also fall over and trap the child or may have harmful substances in them that may harm a child, such as the lead content in certain types of paint.
Vehicles are a common source of product liability claims. Vehicles may suffer from manufacturing or design flaws that make the vehicle dangerous for the driver and others on the road. Given the size and force of a vehicle, manufacturers must ensure every vehicle is safe for consumers with no design or manufacturing defects. Many defects may go unnoticed by the vehicle’s owner until suddenly causing an accident, such as defective brakes, fuel systems, or power steering. Further, other vehicle defects may only become apparent in the event of an accident, such as a defective fuel tank that may explode after a collision has already occurred.
HOW IS LIABILITY DECIDED IN A PRODUCT LIABILITY CASE?
Under New Mexico law, manufacturers and other involved parties may be held strictly liable for a defective product that causes injuries to the consumer. Strict liability means that a victim will generally not have to prove the other party owed any duty of care or breached any such duty of care. Unlike most personal injury cases, which generally only require a victim to prove the elements of a negligence claim, your New Mexico defective product lawsuit may generally have to prove slightly different elements when pursuing a strict liability claim against a manufacturer or other party for a defective product, including:
The Product Was Defective
This element is typically the most difficult to prove in a product liability claim and is generally the most complex. First, the victim must prove that the product was defective, such as by proving the presence of a manufacturing or design defect, or a failure to warn against dangers in using the product. Depending on which type of defect is alleged, this process may vary.
For example, to prove the product contained a design defect, the victim must generally prove that the product could have been designed more safely at a reasonable cost. This process may involve showing that a safer design was available at the time of production, such as by showing alternate designs that were ultimately rejected by the manufacturer that would have produced a safer product.
Further, manufacturers may still not be held liable for a dangerously defective product if avoiding such defect may have been overly expensive or would have overly impacted the product from functioning as intended. For instance, a manufacturer may not have been required to include additional safety precautions, such as protective guards for a table saw, when those precautions would make the product more expensive to produce than it could be sold for, or if such guards would prevent the table saw from performing the purpose it is used for.
Finally, manufacturers may not have been required to adopt alternative design features to increase a product’s safety when they could instead simply include a warning label informing consumers of the risks associated with the use of the product.
The Victim Suffered Injuries
Next, the victim must show that they suffered injuries, such as burns, broken limbs, long-lasting health effects, or other negative side effects.
The Victim’s Injuries Were Caused by the Defect
The victim must still prove that the product’s defect actually caused the victim’s injuries. For example, if a victim suffered injuries in a car accident, and the victim’s vehicle contained a defective fuel tank but that tank did not rupture and was not the cause of any of the victim’s injuries, the vehicle’s manufacturer will generally not be liable for those injuries.
The Victim’s Injuries Were Foreseeable
Finally, the victim must generally prove that the injury was reasonably foreseeable. A manufacturer will generally not be held liable for injuries that were not reasonably foreseeable, like if the victim was misusing the product.
For example, the manufacturer may not be liable when a victim was injured while using an electric tool in the rain despite the product’s warning that it should not be used in the rain or around water.
WHY YOU SHOULD HIRE AN EXPERIENCED LAWYER
Hiring an experienced New Mexico product liability attorney is often crucial to successfully pursuing compensation for a defective product. Product liability injuries are often highly technical and complex, much more so than many other personal injury claims. These claims may often require the use of expert witnesses such as engineers to prove the existence of a design defect in the product’s blueprints and may require extensive investigation and research by your lawyer.
Your attorney may:
- Investigate how the product was designed and developed by the manufacturer
- Determine whether previous complaints have been made by others who were similarly injured using the same product
- Investigate how thorough the manufacturer was in providing warning labels about any dangers associated with using the product
- Review the manufacturer’s marketing materials to determine if they encouraged any misuse of the product
- Explore how the manufacturer has previously responded to complaints about a product, such as by issuing a recall notice or adding a warning label to the product, as failing to take any of these remedial actions may be evidence that the manufacturer did not adequately safeguard against injuries from a product
- Help you determine the value of your claim
Learn More: Why Hiring a Lawyer Will Help Your Case
GET A CASE EVALUATION FROM ZINDA LAW GROUP
At Zinda Law Group, our experienced New Mexico lawyers are here to help you with your claim. We assist our clients in pursuing the maximum compensation they may be entitled to after they or a loved one have been injured by a defective product.
Call (800) 863-5312 today for a free consultation with one of our New Mexico product liability lawyers. You will not pay anything unless we can win your defective product claim. That’s our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.
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