Tennessee Product Liability Law: Malfunctioning Machinery & Equipment
The majority of third-party product liability claims are established on the basis of defects in a product’s design, which entails the occurrence of injury as a direct result of a dangerous or defective product not having appropriate safety warnings or features. But there are, however, a few product liability claims which derive from malfunctioning machinery and equipment. Meaning the product could have been appropriately designed with no defects, but the apparatus will not function properly when being used as intended, and therefore causes an injury to the consumer.
At InjuryTN, our experienced product liability attorneys understand that in order for evidence to be provided for a claim of malfunctioning machinery or equipment, one will need to plainly establish the issue wasn’t operator error. In the event that there is a defect which resulted in the product malfunctioning, the case may be much simpler to prove. However, if a defect does not appear obvious, it will likely be your legal team who is responsible for proving that there were no alternative causes for the product to malfunction, and that the product was not being used in a manner which would be considered unreasonable.
Common Types of Malfunctioning Machinery Claims & Causes
The following is a list of a few examples of product types which have become notorious for their causing of severe injury:
- Children’s Toys
- Construction Equipment
- Heating & Cooling Systems
- Household Appliances
- Lawn Mowers
- Leaf Blowers
- Pool & Spa Equipment
- Portable Heaters
- Power Tools
- Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Detectors
- Sports Equipment
- Vehicle Acceleration Pedals
Malfunctioning equipment could be a result of any number of external factors, including:
- Improper or inappropriate use or handling of the product by the operator
- Equipment which has not been adequately maintained or has become worn out
- Equipment which is defective by design
- The equipment has been used more frequently or for more rigorous uses than it was intended to handle
Even if a plaintiff has shared some fragment of responsibility for the product’s malfunction, a successful claim to compensate for damages sustained will still be attainable. As covered in Tenn. Code Ann. § 29-11-103, cases which involve a claimant sharing some portion of responsibility for an injury, damages awarded would be reduced proportionately, but not quashed altogether. For instance, an operator of a piece of construction equipment may share 35% of the blame, and would therefore have the total amount of compensation awarded diminished by 35%.
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If you or someone you love has been injured because of a malfunctioning piece of equipment or machinery, you should seek immediate legal assistance to recoup fair compensation.
Product Liability Actions & Lawsuits
With product liability actions which involve injuries caused by defective products, the adjudicator will have to take into consideration what level fault all parties had when determining who is primarily at fault. So, for instance, a manufacturer and designer could both be held liable in a product liability suit, even if they bear separate levels of fault. We often see numerous machinery and equipment malfunction cases on job sites, especially in construction, where pieces of heavy machinery failing could mean life and death. Such instances may include crane or scaffolding collapses and heavy machinery or power tool malfunctions.
Those who fall victim to such occurrences could sustain any number of calamitous injuries, such as breaking bones, severe burns, lacerations, and electrical shock. Such injuries are often indeed catastrophic, and carry the possibility of ending with brain damage, spinal damage, loss of vision or hearing, and even amputation. Those who are injured while working on a job are entitled to receive workers’ compensation through their employer without requiring evidence that negligence was a component which resulted in the incident. Nonetheless, in the event that an injury has been a direct result of machinery or equipment malfunctioning, then a third-party liability claim should be thoroughly considered.
Although one would anticipate inherent hazards on construction sites, some not-so-apparent dangers could be lurking in the safety of one’s own home. For instance, recent publications from Consumer Reports have shown that more than 5,000 individuals are treated every year for injuries caused by blenders – a number which has grown exponentially over the course of the past decade. At the same time, the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons has published reports indicating that over 230,000 adults and nearly 18,000 children are injured by lawn mowers annually in the United States. Other potential risks can include table saws, often kept in storage sheds or garages, which result in more than 100,000 injuries per year.
Contact Tennessee Product Liability Experts
In general, it’s much easier to provide evidence that a piece of equipment had malfunctioned in cases involving a product that has recently been purchased. The older a product is, the more probable the defendant will be to assert that inadequate maintenance or faulty repair was the cause of the malfunction. Nevertheless, claims of machinery and equipment malfunctions which involve older products could still be successful. they will, however, still require thorough examination and expert witness testimony as well as a team of skilled product liability attorneys.
If you or someone you know has been injured because of a malfunctioning piece of equipment or machinery, contact InjuryTN to set up your free and confidential initial consultation with an expert product liability lawyer. Call our office at (615) 640-HURT or fill out a contact form online to get in touch with a legal expert who can help you get the compensation you deserve. There are no costs or fees until we win your case.