Areas of Practice
All Terrain Vehicles
ATVs should contain appropriate safety devices such as seatbelts and a safety cage to protect the occupant space. These vehicles can rollover during normal and intended use if they are designed with a high center of gravity.
Children’s Toys and Clothing
Toys and clothing must confirm to relevant standards for safe use. Defects pertaining to toys and clothing include hazards related to children swallowing small objects, sharp laceration hazards, poisonous materials, and flammability.
Manual mowers and lawn tractors must be designed with appropriate guards and devices for safe use. These include projectile guards, kill switches, safety seats, and warnings.
Tractors and Farm Implements
Farm equipment should be designed with appropriate safeguards for intended use. Many farm implements contain pinch points and hazardous openings, which must be appropriately guarded. Also, kill switches and safety seats should be utilized when it is feasible to do so. Defects occur when manufacturers fail to design their products for safe intended use.
Many Go-Karts are used on roadways when they are unsafe for that purpose. Manufacturers may provide warnings about this use even though it is clear that they will be driven in this manner. Other Go-Karts are marketed for off road use when they do not possess basic safety features such as seatbelts and roll cages. Other defects include Go-Karts that travel at an unsafe speed or rollover under normal use. Since these products are often used by children, there is a special need to design them for that purpose.
Space heaters are a common source of house fires. Defects in heaters may relate to wiring components, insulated housing, electrical switches, power surges, heat regulation, and shielding. These fires can occur rapidly and without warning.
Power Cords and Surge Protectors
These devices can fail and cause fires if they contain defects or lack appropriate warnings for use. There are specific types of power cords for specific applications. If the power cord does not provide warnings for appropriate use, the power cord may overload and become flammable. Surge protectors can overheat when they contain a defective back up power supply or contain defective wiring and circuitry.
Furniture and carpeting must meet certain flammability requirements. Defective furniture will burn too rapidly and may fuel a fire and cause injury or death when the fire was otherwise escapable. When investigating a house fire, determining the cause and origin of the fire is critical. Once this is located, the fire pattern can be analyzed, along with all fuel sources, to determine whether furniture played a role in the progression of the fire.
Jet Skis and other personal watercraft must be designed for safe use. A common problem is the lack of off-throttle steering. The danger occurs when the user attempts to turn the watercraft without simultaneously accelerating. If the watercraft does not have off-throttle steering it will continue to move forward, often striking structures or other people. Other defects include the lack of kill switches and safe instructions/warnings for use.
Defects in these tools often involve a failure to appropriately guard the moving parts of the product, lack of emergency shut off devices, or the lack of appropriate warnings and instructions for safe use.
Defects involving industrial machinery often involve the failure to guard the moving parts or the pinch points of the product.
Helmets should be designed to protect the user from reasonable forces in an accident. Both the shell and the padding should be designed to perform in this manner. Defective helmets may crack, fail to absorb the appropriate amount of force, or fail to remain secured in an accident.
Defective guns fail to operate as intended by the user. They should be designed with safety feature to prevent accidental discharge when a bullet is chambered.
Tree stands and hunting equipment should be designed safely for their intended use. This includes robust cabling and attachments that do not prematurely rust or fail.
These products present potential hazards involving entrapment. For instance, when traveling on an escalator, footwear may be pulled into the machinery by the friction created on the sides of the machine. This hazard is even more problematic with children and small shoes. Guards and emergency shut-off devices should be incorporated into the design to prevent these hazards.
WRDB has investigated and prosecuted these cases against manufacturers when these defects exist.
If you believe you or a loved one has been injured due to a product defect, please contact us for a free consultation at 866-494-4786.