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Defective Household Products

Our lives and homes are filled with products designed to make everyday life more comfortable, convenient and efficient. Just think about a typical person’s routine in the morning: wake up with an alarm clock, climb out from underneath an electric blanket in the winter, use machines to brew coffee and toast a bagel, get out of the shower and use an electric blow dryer to dry your hair, throw your coffee mug into the dishwasher, press a button on a remote from inside your car to open your garage door so you can leave for work. We’re so surrounded by machines for so many different purposes that we give little thought to them — until something goes wrong.

When these products, machines, and devices in our homes that are intended to make our lives flow more smoothly are defective, they can cause us harm. A coffee maker or an electric blanket with defective wiring could cause a fire that results in serious burns. A leaking dishwasher with a defective hose could result in a head injury from a slip and fall. A malfunctioning garage door opener could cause the door to fall on a person or vehicle and cause painful or life-threatening crushing injuries.

When a malfunctioning product causes an injury, it may not be a simple accident with no one to blame. If your injury was caused by a defect in the design or manufacturing process, then the person or company responsible for the defect may be liable to compensate you for your injuries through a product liability claim.

A product liability claim allows you to pursue compensation from a product designer, manufacturer, distributor, or retailer when you are injured by a defective product. You may be able to recover financial compensation for your medical expenses, pain and suffering, disability and disfigurement, lost wages, and loss of normal life.

Common Types of Defective Household Products

The term “household products” can describe any number of machines, appliances, devices, or other products we use in our homes. Any product can be defective, but not all have the potential to cause serious harm. Some common household products that become the subjects of product liability claims include:

  • Heaters and Electric Blankets — When wiring is faulty or these products malfunction, the injuries could include burns, electrocution, or carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Fire Alarms — When fire alarms malfunction, occupants of a home or building may not be alerted to a fire. The consequences could include smoke inhalation or serious burns.
  • Kitchen and Home Appliances — When a dishwasher, stove, refrigerator, washing machine, or dryer is defective, the potential results may include electrocution or fire, or serious injuries suffered in a slip and fall if the appliance leaks water or fluid onto the floor.
  • Power Tools — When power tools are defective, the user could suffer serious cuts, burns, or amputation.
  • Toxic Cleaning Products — When cleaning products that contain toxic or harmful chemicals are not labeled with proper instructions and warnings, users may become sick, poisoned, or suffer chemical burns.
  • Personal Use Items — Items such as hair dryers or curling irons can cause serious burns or electrocution when defective.
  • Lawnmowers and Yard Equipment — A defective lawnmower, weed whacker, chain saw, or other piece of motorized yard or garden equipment could cause cuts, burns, electrocution, or amputation when defective.

How a Lawyer Can Help

Product liability claims are often much more complex than a typical personal injury claim. There are complicated legal principles involved, and proving a product liability claim often relies on expert testimony and reams of technical information about a product’s design and manufacturing process. You may need an engineer to interpret and analyze blueprints or schematics for the product, or a scientist who can talk about the integrity of materials used in the product.

A lawyer can help with much more than litigating a case in court. A Chicago personal injury attorney who has experience in product liability cases will be able to evaluate your situation and determine what kind of evidence and testimony you’ll need, and find the necessary experts to support your claim. A lawyer will know how to handle the investigation into your injury, how to make a demand for a settlement, and how to negotiate with insurance companies to get a fair settlement.