Product liability refers to holding manufacturers liable for producing products that malfunction and endanger consumers— which then leads to a product recall. Keep in mind that this doesn’t include products that are “unavoidably dangerous” when used incorrectly, such as cleaning products. This does, however, include food and drugs that may have been contaminated.
When a single individual is injured, they call a personal injury attorney, and that attorney represents that individual in a lawsuit. On the other hand, when multiple people are injured by a product, this type of lawsuit is either a class action or a mass tort. Both are large groups of plaintiffs, but class action lawsuits treat them as one plaintiff, whereas mass torts treat every plaintiff as an individual.
Examples of Current Class Action Lawsuits in the U.S.
Automotive and Appliances
Examples of class action lawsuits involving appliances and motor vehicles include heating elements in dishwashers, transmission issues in Ford vehicles, and the parking brakes in Jeep Cherokees.
Data and Privacy
Data and privacy breaches aren’t supposed to happen in today’s digital world with so many defenses against them. Still, the negligence of companies like BetterHelp, GoodRx, H&R Block, Spotify, and Twitter has put their users at risk for data breaches.
Sometimes companies cut corners or are just negligent when manufacturing their products, and this is how defective products enter the market. Some companies even claim that their products can do something that they can’t. One example is the company SmileDirectClub (invisible aligners) possibly falsely advertising its product.
Drugs and Supplements
Products that are ingested are also manufactured improperly at times, become contaminated at some point, or contain substances that are later found to cause serious illnesses. Examples include EzriCare and Delsam Pharma eye drops, Johnson & Johnson talcum powder, and Similac or Enfamil baby formula.
Environmental hazards refer to things that naturally occur in the environment but are used at a higher concentration when manufacturing certain products. It also refers to certain products or natural resources being contaminated by environmental hazards. Examples include the Camp Lejeune water contamination, mesothelioma lung cancer from asbestos exposure, and Roundup weedkiller.
Medical devices can also malfunction (due to negligence in manufacturing) and cause serious harm to the consumers who use them. Two examples include a hernia mesh implant and the Philips CPAP and BiPAP ventilators that have made sleep apnea worse and/or caused additional breathing issues.
Examples of Current Mass Torts in Illinois
Chemical Hair Straighteners
Chemical hair straighteners or relaxers were found to increase the risk of uterine cancer in the women who used them. These hair products contain ingredients like sodium hydroxide, ammonium thioglycolate, and guanidine carbonate, which are known to cause burns and other serious health issues. This includes many relaxers manufactured by the brand L’Oreal. Another example of a hair product recall is the dry shampoos from Head and Shoulders, a brand known for treating dandruff.
In recent years, drugs like Zantac and Fen-Phen have been recalled because of the serious side effects associated with them. Defective drugs have led to serious injuries and even death.
Recent studies have linked the consumption of acetaminophen (Tylenol) by pregnant women to the development of Autism in their children later on. Studies have also found that children who took acetaminophen during their first year of life were three times more likely to develop Autism. Keep in mind that these studies don’t prove a cause, but strongly suggest a link.
Like drivers injured in a car accident involving their own vehicle, riders of rideshare services like Uber and Lyft are also entitled to compensation if they were involved in a wreck during their ride. This personal injury claim is against both the driver and the rideshare company.
Because the main difference between class actions and mass tort is how the plaintiff is treated, there may be some product liability cases treated as a class action lawsuit in one instance, and the same product liability cases treated as a mass tort in another. You can determine which type is best for you by contacting a product liability lawyer in Illinois.
Being injured by a product that is deemed safe for consumer use can result in minor or major health issues, and even death. It’s the responsibility of the manufacturer and company selling the product to ensure that the product is safe for consumer use, so you’re entitled to compensation if you were injured by a faulty product.