Consumers in the United States are protected by fairly broad consumer protection laws. Product liability laws apply to protect consumers when an injury occurs as a result of a product’s proper usage. These laws apply to injuries which result from the use of a product that is unsafe due to its design or manufacture. They also apply to injuries from the method of sale, marketing, or supply to the injured party.
Products liability cases include products like construction materials and machinery, cars, medical equipment, foods, and beverages. Product liability class action cases related to cars for example include those for mechanical defects , sport utility vehicle (SUV) design defects, and tire tread separation. Manufacturers and sellers of goods have a duty to compensate consumers for any injury caused by a faulty product that is sold on the market. This means that an injured party may take legal action against the entity that designed, manufactured, sold, or furnished the unsafe product.
When a large number of people are injured by a faulty or defective product, sufficient to meet statutory requirements, the legal claims of the group as a whole may be pursued through a “class action” lawsuit which allows multiple persons to litigate their claims as one sole claim. The benefit of filing a class action lawsuit is that many people may pool their resources and work in a joint effort to pursue some penalty or punishment for the defendant’s wrongdoing. A class can be created if many people have suffered similar injuries by using the defective product. Harm from prescription drugs is one example. However, in order to proceed with a class action lawsuit, the class has to be certified by the court. In order to be certified, the class must meet four requirements:
- Numerosity: There must be so many people in the class that joinder of all members would not be practicable.
- Adequacy: One person must be identified as the class representative who must exemplify the legal interests of other class members.
- Commonality: There needs to be at least one issue common to all members of the class.
- Typicality: This requires that the claims or defenses of the representative parties must be typical of the claims or defenses of the class. The class representative must have the same interest and suffer the same injury as other members of the class.
Other types of class action lawsuits are those for deceptive or unfair trade practice, consumer class actions which are generally brought when consumers are injured by a company’s illegal practices and procedures. Examples include unlawful debt collection, illegal charges and penalties on bills and payments, and noncompliance with consumer protection laws. Also, employment class action lawsuits may be filed on behalf of employees of a company for violations of the labor and employment laws such as safety violations and workplace discrimination.
If you or a family member have been injured while using a product, call Board Certified Personal Injury attorney Bryan Caulfield. Bryan Caulfield has experience representing his clients involved in product liability actions and can help you and your family recover the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Contact Bryan Caulfield today at (727) 796-8282.