When most people think of product liability, they assume the product itself has an issue. Whether that is a small part that wasn’t warned about for a children’s toy, a defective leg on a chair, or even a faulty phone battery, these cases are more common than we tend to think. However, what happens when it isn’t the product itself that caused the injury, but a defect in the packaging? Can you file a claim based on that injury? Your dedicated team of product liability attorneys at the Hernandez Law Group has researched this issue extensively and this is what we found.
Understanding the Guidelines for Proper Packaging
Not many people spend time thinking about the packaging of the products they buy. Most of us are more concerned with the actual product itself but, when it comes to businesses, packaging design is a humongous industry nationwide and internationally.
Packaging, like every product, must meet certain criteria to be approved for manufacturing and used to store/protect a product for distribution. They must meet the following guidelines:
- Be easy to open and close (for adults)
- Be free of overly sharp edges
- Have ample warning about potential choking hazards due to small parts, such as packing peanuts
- Be easy to handle
- Made of material that is easy and safe to dispose of in either recycling or the trash
- Packaging for sharp or potentially hazardous materials should be guarded to protect the consumer from avoidable injuries
- Include complete instructions for assembly or usage
- Age restrictions should be included on the packaging for products that are not made for children
How Can Packaging Be Defective?
While it is certainly not as common as a defective product, defective packaging can lead to some serious injuries. For example, if you buy a new knife set for your child who just moved into their first apartment, you expect all of the knife blades to be protected by a guard. However, if the knife blades failed to have a guard on them, you may cut your hand open while trying to open the box.
Another common packaging error that leads to serious injury is medicine being packaged in the wrong container. This happens more often than people think and has led to some serious illnesses and allergic reactions for patients over the years.
Packaging Failure to Protect Consumers
Not all packaging defects are due to the failure to include protective guards or improper packaging. Sometimes, the packages themselves are designed poorly, failing to properly warn consumers of possible dangers. For example, one of the biggest product liability cases occurred because McDonald’s coffee cup packaging failed to warn the consumer of the hot beverage.
Products and their packaging need to have ample warnings and words of caution about the potential dangers of a product. Failing to include these can result in the consumer not realizing the potential for danger and lead to an accident that could have been prevented. Failure to warn is one of the biggest reasons for both product liability and packaging liability cases.
What Do I Need to Prove for a Packaging Products Liability Case?
If you were injured because the packaging lacked warnings or the product was improperly packaged, then you could have a valid claim against the company. Even a failure to include adequate instructions with a product can warrant a lawsuit since the consumer would be unable to learn how to use the product safely.
To prove that a company was negligent, it must be proven that you, the defendant, were injured due to the company’s failure to uphold its duty to the consumer. This failure is what led to the accident which caused your injury. There are several principles in which this would be the case:
There Was a Breach of Warranty Of the Product
All sellers are required to back up their products and ensure they are proper quality to avoid injury and provide confidence for their buyers. This includes the packaging of the product as well. A company is in breach of this duty when the following happens;
- There is an expressed warranty or guarantee on behalf of the seller on the packaging that failed to be upheld after the incident.
- The implied warranty of guarantee that the product works for the advertised purpose was breached and led to consumer injury
- The implied warranty of merchantability which tells a consumer that the product is safe for use and not defective is breached when a defect causes injury to the consumer.
The Packaging Failed to Warn the Consumer of the Danger of the Product or Packaging
As mentioned earlier, all products must have ample warnings on them if the product or packaging may contain small parts, something hot, or other potentially dangerous content for consumers. This helps consumers make informed decisions about the packaging and the product itself to ensure the safety of themselves and their loved ones. When a product that has a hazard fails to have an appropriate warning on the packaging and an accident occurs, this is considered a breach of duty and a valid reason for product liability.
Should I Hire a Products Liability Attorney?
Whenever you are injured in an accident, whether it be from a defective product or a car accident, it is always highly recommended to seek out the aid of a personal injury attorney. Personal injury attorneys, such as the team from the Hernandez Law Group, P.C. can help you claim the compensation you deserve for medical expenses and damages.
Our team is full of passionate attorneys who have made it their life’s mission to help injured parties claim compensation and get their lives back on track. Contact our team today for more information on our services or to schedule a free no-obligation consultation to go over your case!