Product Defect Injury Statistics

The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission keeps a record of many product-related injuries and deaths in the US. Their records document everything from generator-related carbon monoxide incidents to toy defect injuries, to pool and spa suction entrapment injuries. This also includes fireworks injuries and infants and toddlers being injured by nursery products. You can even use their website to report an unsafe product.

Medical product related injuries and deaths are reported to the Food and Drug Administration, and account for many more cases than other consumer products. In 2016, a study by Johns Hopkins estimated that at least 250,000 wrongful deaths occur due to medical errors, making medical errors the third leading cause of death in the United States. This includes everything from prescription drug defects to faulty joint replacement implants, to pain management devices that are not installed properly, and more. You can use the FDA website to report faulty medical products and devices, though there are requirements for an incident to qualify as reportable.

Product defect suits in particular are viewed in a negative light by many, but without these landmark cases, manufacturers and distributors of faulty products will not be held accountable for quality standards and duty to care. Read more about some specific types of these cases.

Pharmaceutical Drug Defect Injuries

The manufacturers of prescription drugs and over-the-counter drugs all have specific duties to the consumer. These include the duty to label products accurately, and clearly disclose all warnings and known potential side effects. Even when a manufacturer has been compliant in this duty, the practice of off-label prescription can still cause the drug manufacturer to be negligent.

For example, Zofran was approved by the FDA to remedy nausea in chemotherapy patients. The drug company then began marketing Zofran to pregnant women for morning sickness. But later, it was found that Zofran could cause birth defects. The drug company was ultimately found liable because they were promoting the off-label use of a product even though it had never been tested on humans for morning sickness. This is just one example of the way an experienced personal injury attorney would consider a manufacturer of prescription drugs might be negligent in their duty to the patient.

How Pharmaceutical Drugs Cause Harm

Americans are taking more prescription drugs than ever. In fact, research has shown that the number of prescriptions that have been filled for adults and children has risen 85% between 1997 and 2016—from 2.4 billion to 4.5 billion a year. We rely on prescription and over-the-counter medications to treat our various systems and get us back to optimal health.

However, many of the drugs approved for use have dangerous side effects. Whether these side effects are unexplored or are known but concealed by drug manufacturers, affected individuals may be entitled to seek compensation for their resulting injuries and illnesses by filing a product liability claim against the at-fault company.

Drug defects can occur when:

  • The drug isn’t properly labeled or lacks sufficient warnings about side effects
  • The drug was manufactured incorrectly, which results in an extremely high or low dose, or introduces dangerous contaminants into the drug
  • The drug was improperly tested and has dangerous side effects

Because the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) regulates medication sales, most people assume all FDA-approved drugs are safe, but this isn’t always the case. There’s currently a long list of defective drugs that are considered dangerous to our health and have been linked to complications and illnesses ranging from blood clotting to cancer. Some of these include the popular birth control pill known as YAZ, which has been shown to double the risk of blood clots, as well as the medication known as Zantac, which has been linked to cancers including breast cancer, kidney cancer, and stomach cancer.

Medical Product Defect Injuries

Manufacturers of medical devices like hip implants, knee replacements, and intrauterine devices (IUDs) also have the duty to test their devices before release. They also must make sure training and information is available to educate care providers about installing the products. Lastly, they have a duty to warn about all potential side effects of the devices, and to react as new side effects become known.

For example, shortly after the contraceptive device, Essure came on the market in 2002, the manufacturer, Bayer Pharmaceuticals, began to receive wide reports of severe complications in patients. From metal allergies to device migrations into the pelvis and abdomen, the Essure device continued to have devastating consequences for patients nationwide for decades until it was finally taken off the market. This is one example of how a medical device manufacturer can be considered negligent or even knowingly malicious in their acts toward patient consumers.

Motor Vehicle Manufacturing Defect Injury

Motor vehicle manufacturing defects have claimed many lives and caused many more severe injuries over the decades. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has determined the following to be some, but not all, of the defects that might require a recall from the manufacturer:

  • Steering components that break or stick
  • Fuel system components that are susceptible to crash damage
  • Wheels that crack or break
  • Engine cooling fan defects like blades that break off
  • Faulty windshield wiper assemblies
  • Inadequate jacks or ramps that may cause injury during repair
  • Airbags that deploy when they are not needed, or that fail to deploy when needed
  • Car seats and seat belts with components that present hazards, even while not driving

In all these instances and others, the manufacturer has a duty to inform consumers of the recall. If the recall is not issued, or proper steps are not taken to alert the customer and correct the issue, the manufacturer of the vehicle could be considered not meeting their duty.

Defective Industrial Equipment Injury

Industrial equipment is usually encountered in certain types of industrial workplaces. Factories sometimes have machinery that can cause serious injury or death to the workers who operate them. Products like conveyor belts, saws, sanders, lathe machines, boilers, forklifts, bulldozers, valves, and other equipment must be manufactured, installed, and maintained to certain standards. If the manufacturer or retailer does not share these with the employer, they may be partially at fault for injuries by industrial machinery. The same is true at construction sites. For example, a defective crane, defective scaffolds, unsafe saws and nail guns, malfunctioning back­hoes and other construction equipment can cause serious injury and death if not built and labeled properly.

Defective Consumer Products Injury

The Consumer Product Safety Commission also tracks fires caused by faulty consumer products and electrocutions caused by faulty consumer products, among other injuries and damages caused by consumer products. Many far-ranging and unexpected incidents could result in injury or wrongful death, including:

  • Defective oven, defective dryer, or other household appliance
  • E-cigarette injuries like Juul™ causing popcorn lung
  • Cell phone injury or other lithium-battery device injury
  • Holiday decorations and décor like strings of lights, lamps, and products made with harmful paint or other toxic and low-quality materials
  • Defective toys, electronics, or vehicles like bicycles, scooters, and ATVs
  • Clothing or costumes that may be flammable

Contact Indiana Product Liability Attorneys

These are just some examples of how the malfunction or failure of a consumer product, medical device, vehicle, or other item may be related to negligence somewhere in the supply chain of the product. The support and insight of experienced consumer rights attorneys is important if you think manufacturer negligence led you to be injured by a product.

Contact the experienced Indiana product liability attorneys at Christie Farrell Lee & Bell to meet a team of advocates that wants to hear your story and help you achieve peace of mind.

Read more about Indiana Product Liability:

Indianapolis Office

951 N Delaware St Indianapolis, IN 46202
Phone: 317-593-9202