Does a product liability claim require physical injury?

Readers may more commonly associate product liability claims with auto recalls or equipment. However, it’s important to remember that nearly any type of dangerous or defective product that causes injury may fall under product liability laws. That umbrella includes prescription drugs that cause harmful, unintended side effects, adverse reactions, or possibly even those that fail to work as advertised.

In a recent example, unhappy consumers are suing the manufacturer of a birth control drug for a packaging mistake that reduced the effectiveness of the drug. In fact, the company, Alabama based Qualitest Pharmaceuticals, was aware of the mistake and recalled eight of its oral contraceptive lines in 2011, estimated to be around 3.2 million birth control packs. However, some consumers may still have taken the defective pills. 

Although the defect didn’t pose a health risk, the pills targeted by the recall failed to keep over 100 women from getting pregnant. Those women are now suing the drug manufacturer. 

Under a traditional product liability theory, a consumer might bring a civil lawsuit against a manufacturer alleging that a defective product resulted in injury. However, this area of law also requires a product to meet the ordinary and reasonable expectations of consumers. Products that result in injury are an extreme example of failing to meet that expectation. There may also be other ways that a product might be deemed defective, as a matter of law.

For example, flaws might lie in the areas of a product’s design, its manufacture or assemble, or in its marketing. In the specific example of a defective drug, a consumer might allege a marketing defect. For more examples of how this type of lawsuit can be handled, check out our firm’s website.

Source: Jezebel, “Women Sue Birth Control Manufacturer For Cost of Raising Children Due to Defective Product,” Mark Shrayber, Nov. 13, 2015

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