What are the 3 types of defects in Texas products liability claims?

In Texas, a product may be considered defective if it was designed unsafely, manufactured improperly or lacking in necessary instructions and warnings.

Many people in League City take the safety of the products that they use each day for granted. However, it's not uncommon for manufacturers to make errors or oversights when designing, producing or marketing these products. These issues can have devastating consequences for consumers. Fortunately, legal remedies may be available to people who can prove they suffered injuries from defective products.

In Texas, there are three recognized categories of product defects. People who can show that a product possessed one of these defects and that it led directly to injury may be able to secure compensation. However, consumers typically must meet challenging standards to prove that one of these defects exists.

Design defects

Products with design defects endanger users even when they are made exactly to specification. It's important to note that showing a product is dangerous is not the same as proving that it has design defects. If a product is clearly and inherently dangerous to a reasonable user, the manufacturer cannot be held liable for any injuries that it causes.

Under the Texas Civil Practices and Remedies Code, people making claims for products with design defects don't just have to demonstrate that a design was unsafe. They also must prove the following:

  • A less dangerous alternative design existed.
  • Using this design would have been financially and technologically reasonable for the manufacturer at the time that the product was made.
  • This alternate design would have maintained most of the product's utility while also reducing the risk of the plaintiff's injury.

Victims must also prove that their injuries resulted directly from the design defect in question, rather than other factors.

Manufacturing defects

Manufacturing defects occur by chance and, as a result, aren't necessarily present in every product in a line. These defects usually reflect an issue with production or quality control processes. Injury victims do not need to meet special criteria to prove that a manufacturing defect provides grounds for a products liability claim. However, they must provide evidence of the defect, which may be challenging if the product was damaged or destroyed as a result of the defect.

Failure to warn

Products can also be considered defective when manufacturers don't provide adequate warnings or instructions about their use. For example, if a product poses an unexpected or unforeseeable danger when used as intended, the manufacturer must provide a warning. Similarly, if a product should be used in a specific way to reduce the risk of injury, the manufacturer should provide instructions accordingly. Failure on either count may provide grounds for a claim.

In Texas, the criteria for defective pharmaceutical drugs are slightly different. If a manufacturer uses a warning that was approved or created by the Food and Drug Administration, the manufacturer might not be liable. If the manufacturer concealed information from the FDA or provided inaccurate information, however, it may be liable. Additionally, manufacturers may be found liable for failure to warn if they endorse any medicines for off-label purposes that aren't approved by the FDA.

The claims process

For products with any of these defects, the statute of limitations for filing a products liability claim is typically 15 years from the date of purchase. However, victims may have additional time if an injury had a delayed onset or if the manufacturer offered a longer product warranty.

Given the complexity of Texas products liability law and the challenges of proving a product was defective, injury victims may benefit from securing legal help. An attorney may be able to provide assistance in documenting a defect and proving that it led directly to a wrongful injury.

Products that may have defects that lead to injury or harm can include automobiles, boats, farm equipment, seat belts, airbags, drugs, toys, machinery, scaffolding, electrical sources, lasers, power tools, medical devices and many more.

At the Apffel Law Firm, we have been handling product liability cases for over 30 years.