Dangerous or otherwise defective products cause injury to countless numbers of consumers each year. If you purchase a product that simply does not perform as advertised, causing no actual injury, then you may be covered by a warranty or at the very least have the option of returning it for a refund or exchange. See Product Warranties and Returns for more details.
However, you may have a personal injury claim if you have sustained an injury from a defective product. FindLaw's extensive Product Liability section, within the main Accidents and Injuries center, contains a wide variety of articles and resources to help you better understand and respond to a recall or injury from a dangerous product.
This article provides a general overview of your rights as a consumer with respect to recalled or injury-causing products. See our main Consumer Protection section for more topics.
The three main types of product defects are design defects, manufacturer defects, and defects in instructions or warnings. The legal remedy for injuries sustained from a defective consumer product varies from case to case.
The law provides numerous remedies for the effects of dangerous consumer products, depending on the situation. The two main legal theories for product defect cases are negligence and strict liability:
Negligence: Plaintiffs may collect damages from a liable defendant (i.e. the manufacturer and/or retailer) if he or she can prove that the manufacturer breached a duty owed to a plaintiff, that this breach caused an injury, and that the plaintiff suffered actual damages as a result. For example, a motorcycle that wasn't tested properly and loses a wheel, causing serious injury to the rider, would most likely result in the plaintiff receiving a monetary award for damages. See "Proving Fault: What is Negligence?" for more information.
Other legal avenues include the assertion of one's warranty rights (implied or express) and the theory of tortuous misrepresentation. See "Legal Basis for Liability in Product Cases" for a concise overview of these different legal theories.
FindLaw provides targeted information about various different categories of defective or dangerous products, listed below:
See the U.S. government's Recalls.gov Website for information about recent product recalls and a searchable database of past recalls. You can also learn about consumer protection laws by state on our consumer protection attorney answers page.
If you have been injured by a defective product, you may want to consider contacting a personal injury lawyer to learn about the legal remedies that may be available. See "Product Liability Legal Help" for more information about hiring an attorney for a product claim, plus links to consumer protection agencies and applicable laws.