Can You Sue a Company For a Defective Product?

by Gina Corena

Last Updated on September 28,2023

Can You Sue a Company For a Defective Product?

When a consumer purchases a product, the expectation is that the product has been created and tested with safety in mind. However, sometimes a product comes to the market with a flaw or an inadequate safety warning. When a product malfunctions, or does not clearly state how to use the product safely, it can result in serious injury. It is the product manufacturer or seller’s responsibility to ensure the product is safe to use. When this does not happen, the consumer has rights under the law to sue the company for damages caused by a defective product. 

What Kinds of Defective Products Have Been Involved in Lawsuits? 

Although defective products can be found in every industry, some of the most common types of defective product lawsuits in the United States include:

  • Automotive defects, such as brakes, steering mechanisms and airbags can cause motor vehicle accidents, or fail to protect passengers as intended in the event of an accident
  • Drug or medical equipment defects from medicines or implants can cause injury, chronic illness or even death. 
  • Defective products for children like car seats, strollers, cribs and toys can put a child in danger of falls, suffocation, choking, or fail to protect them in a car accident.
  • Dangerous building materials containing asbestos, which may cause serious lung disease. 
  • Vaping products have been implicated in deceptive marketing and shown to cause health problems.
  • Defective household appliances put owners at risk of fires, explosions or carbon monoxide poisoning.

If the product causes an injury, the consumer may be able to file a personal injury claim against the manufacturer, distributor, or retailer. Injuries can cause major disruptions in the victim’s life, and the effects of the injury may impact the victim’s quality of life for years to come. The damages a victim can be compensated for include medical bills, rehabilitation costs, lost income, compromised future earnings, pain and suffering, and wrongful death

What Defines a Defective Product? 

When a product is purchased from a manufacturer, it should be safe to use for its intended purpose and according to any instructions or warning labels. If a product causes injury when it is properly used, in a lawsuit the defect will fall under one of three definitions:

  • Defects created during the manufacturing process. A product could be made with a defective material, or while being assembled, a machine or human error could make the product dangerous to use. For example, a ladder assembled with screws that break under pressure and cause injury when it collapses. 
  • Products with a defect in the design. Some products will have a design flaw never caught in product testing that makes them dangerous when used. For example, the wiring in a toaster which catches fire when used for its normal purpose. 
  • The lack of a warning label. The manufacturer is required to label the item with information on how to use it safely. An example is the label on a hair dryer which warns the consumer not to use it while taking a bath because of the risk of electrocution. 

If the plaintiff can prove one of the above circumstances, the manufacturer will be liable for damages caused by the defective product. If the manufacturer blames another company, such as the distributor or retailer, the plaintiff may be able to pursue a lawsuit with the company that was at fault. 

What Does Nevada Law Say About Defective Products? 

In Nevada, laws about product liability are defined under NRS 695E.090. The statute states that these damages incurred by a defective product are the responsibility of the manufacturer or seller. 

The statute also dictates that the consumer that had the defective product in their possession is not liable for any damages. 

There are four bases under Nevada law for claiming damages due to a defective product, which are defined as:

  • Breach of express or implied warranty.  An express warranty is clear when purchasing a product. It includes guarantees on the product label, the instructions, or represented in marketing materials. An implied warranty includes the characteristics of the product that the consumer can reasonably expect, and that the person selling the product is providing goods that will function as intended. 
  • Strict liability. Under Nevada law, a product manufacturer or seller does not have to be negligent in order to be held responsible for a defective product. As long as the consumer used the product in a way the manufacturer or seller intended, if it caused an injury, the victim is able to claim damages. 
  • Negligence. Nevada law about general negligence – the same law that lends a base to medical malpractice – can be a basis for a defective product lawsuit. The law states that the manufacturer or seller has a duty of care to the consumer, and if the consumer suffers an injury, the manufacturer or seller is in breach of that duty. 
  • Intentional misrepresentation or fraud. The manufacturer or seller may have known the product was defective, and intentionally kept that information from the consumer. 

What Kind of Damages Can Be Claimed When Suing a Company For a Defective Product? 

If the manufacturer or seller of the defective product is found guilty, they may be required to pay the plaintiff damages. In Nevada, there is no cap on damages that can be awarded to the plaintiff, as long as they are reasonable based on the injury. However, it is important for a consumer who has suffered an injury from a defective product to be aware of the statute of limitations to claim damages. The plaintiff must file a personal injury lawsuit within two years from when the injury occurred. 

Moreover, understanding the nuances of product liability is crucial. There are several aspects under this category, such as the broader product liability topics or more specific issues like the risks associated with defective medical devices. Staying informed can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case.

If you have suffered an injury due to a defective product, you may be entitled to damages for medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering. Our experienced team will expertly navigate the legal system on your behalf and help you get the compensation you deserve. Contact us for a free consultation. 

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