DEFECTIVE SPORTS EQUIPMENT


Ohio Product Liability Lawyer reviewing cases and lawsuits for injured clients and plaintiffs nationwide
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Spread Awareness for Faulty Products

Every year, more than 2.6 million children are treated in emergency departments for sports and recreation-related injuries In the last year, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that sports-related injuries were responsible for nearly 250,000 children being treated in emergency departments for injuries that included a traumatic brain injury or concussion.

Collision or contact sports have the highest injury rates. Sports including football, basketball, baseball and soccer account for about 80 percent of all sports-related emergency room visits.

Many sports are played using sports equipment like helmets and masks to serve as a safety element. Properly constructed gear is important for all athletes, and especially for those participating in sports like football, hockey, skiing, cycling, rollerblading, and snowboarding.

When sports equipment fails or is found to be defective, it may lead to preventable injuries that may be serious and even fatal. Sports equipment manufacturers are responsible for the products they deem safe, and any defect or failure that causes injury can result in a product liability claim and lawsuit.

Joe Lyon is a highly-rated Cincinnati, Ohio Product Liability Lawyer representing plaintiffs nationwide in a wide variety of consumer product liability and defective sports equipment cases.


Defective & Recalled Sports Equipment


The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) regularly recalls sports equipment reported to contain safety defects that may pose a risk of injury. Certain pieces of sporting equipment are commonly found to be defective, including the following:


Home Gym Equipment Failure


Home gym equipment often requires some self-assembly. However, if some materials are missing or improperly manufactured or designed, the equipment may fail and serious injury may result.

Assembly instructions may be unclear, and gym equipment companies may fail to include adequate warnings about the limitations or proper weight restrictions. Common accidents involving home gym equipment may include:

  • Exercise bike collapse or tip over
  • Stair-stepper collapse
  • Resistance Tube failure
  • Exercise ball blow-outs
  • Pulley failures
  • Seat collapse
  • Failing weight locks

Defective Paintball Guns


Paintball is usually a fun, harmless sport, but can quickly turn dangerous when defective paintball guns are involved. Paintball guns are often recalled because of improper discharge and other defects with the valve-and-cylinder combination of the guns. By some estimates, over 20,000 people are injured each year using air and paintball guns.

Safety measures and the quality of manufacturing may have improved in recent years though older guns and equipment may still pose a safety threat. Manufacturers of paintball equipment are aware of the potential injury hazards, and they are responsible for the damages that result.


Defective Sports Helmets


Over the years, personal injury lawsuits involving defective helmets have forced manufacturers to fine-tune manufacturing and quality control processes in order to reduce the number of related injuries. However, cyclists and other athletes continue to be at risk due to some defective helmets.

To prevent injuries, particularly in collision sports like football, lacrosse and hockey, participants rely on well-designed helmets, sturdy enough to protect the head from inevitable impact. When helmets fail, the injuries that may result put the brain and spine at risk. Head injuries that result from wearing a defective helmet or face mask can cause concussions or traumatic brain injuries.

Helmets designed for football, hockey, lacrosse or baseball must be well-constructed, tested, and strong enough to absorb serious impact. A helmet should fit a player’s head snugly at all times, and should include a chinstrap that reduces movement of the protective gear. All safety and protective equipment must conform to industry standards, and must be tested prior to distribution.


Sports Brain Injury


Traumatic brain injuries are acute head injuries that occur when trauma or an external force causes disruption to the brain. Mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) involves a temporary disruption, whereas severe trauma can result in brain bruising, torn tissue, and bleeding that can cause permanent brain damage or even death.

Long-term effects of TBI can range from impaired thinking to emotional impairment or physical functioning. Sport injuries can lead to the most severe types of TBI, including:


Equipment Manufacturers Liable


Product liability law holds manufacturers responsible for their portion of liability regarding injuries related to poorly constructed or defective sports equipment. These manufacturers have a legal duty to ensure the safety of the equipment they market and distribute. In addition, they are required to properly warn consumers of any defect their product may contain and issue prompt safety recalls.

Compensation can be sought and may be awarded to cover medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, as well as punitive damages against a manufacturer for negligence and a blatant disregard for the safety of consumers. For a full investigation and to build the strongest case possible, it is prudent to contact an attorney with considerable experience in product liability law.

photo of attorney Joe Lyon
A Voice for Those who have suffered 

Why are these cases important?

Many product liability cases have had a positive impact on public health and safety, and we have witnessed improved lives and future injuries prevented as companies are forced to remove products and change designs and warnings as a result of litigation.

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Questions about Product Liability & Case Types

What is a Product Liability Lawsuit?

Product liability lawsuits often contain causes of action for strict liability, negligence, and breach of warranty. Strict liability applies to different factors than negligence-based claims.

In negligence cases, the actions of the defendant are the focus. In strict liability claims, the focus is on the condition of a product at the time it left the manufacturer. If a product is determined to be defective, the company is liable for any foreseeable injuries that are in-part caused by the defective condition of the product.

What are some examples of Product Liability?
How is a Product Defined as Defective?
Ohio Definition of Defective

A product is defective if it is unreasonably dangerous for its intended use. A legal cause of action can be based on several types of product defects. The following are Cincinnati product liability and strict liability claims available in Ohio and in most jurisdictions nationwide:

(1)  Manufacturing/ Construction Defect:

These issues arise where the product is released from the factory in a manner that deviates from the intended design or specifications. The defect can be a result of using the wrong materials, including the wrong or completely foreign materials (e.g., Tylenol contamination, food poisoning, damaged car part from factory installation).

As a result of the deviation, the product enters the market in an unreasonably dangerous condition and the consumer is exposed to or purchases a product that is defective. Any personal injuries or economic loss that arise from the the defect are compensable under Ohio product liability law.

(2) Defective design and/or formulation:

Defective design product liability cases arise not because a mistake was made during the manufacturing process, but rather the original design of the product is unreasonably dangerous. A “risk benefit analysis” is used to determine whether safer/less expensive alternative designs were available to the manufacturer.

Federal regulations set minimum standards for the design of many consumer products, and preemption defenses may preclude liability in some situations if the manufacturer follows and obtains federal approval for a product. Automotive recalls and product liability cases are usually a result of a defective design. Common cases include the Toyota Brake Recall, Chrysler Gen III seat belt buckle, lap belt only cases, Metal on Metal hip implants, transvaginal mesh.)

(3) Failure to warn or inadequate warning or instruction associated with the product:

All consumer products come with necessary and appropriate warnings and instructions for use. If the lack of a warning makes the product and use of the product unsafe, the manufacturer is liable for the failure to place the warning. The most common area of litigation for failure to warn is in pharmaceutical litigation.

Pharmaceutical manufacturers are required to warn of the known or foreseeable side effects and update the warnings in a timely manner. Litigation arises where there is evidence the manufacturer failed to timely update a warning in light of new data or simply ignored the risk and failed to conduct sufficient research to identify and then disclose the risk.

(4) Misrepresentation:

The product fails to conform to a representation or warranty. Warranty claims are more common in commercial and economic loss cases than in personal injury cases. In many States, The Product Liability Act does not apply to cases with only economic loss, because the Commercial Code provides recourse for breach of warranty.

The warranty may be written or implied based upon the products intended purpose and merchantability. An example of a breach of warranty cases are cases involving automotive defects.

How do you prove design defects?

Risks:  The following factors are considered under Ohio law when determining the risks associated with the design of a product:  (1) the magnitude of the risk of injury; (2) ordinary consumer awareness of the risk for injury; (3) the likelihood of causing injury; (4) the violation of a private or public standard; and (5) the consumer’s expectation of the performance of the product and level of danger. Ohio Revised Code 2307.5 (B) Product Defective in Design or Formulation.

BenefitsThe following factors are considered under Ohio law when determining the benefits associated with product design: (1) the utility of the product; (2) availability of an alternative design; (3) the magnitude of risks associated with an alternative design. Ohio Revised Code 2307.5 (c)

Defenses for Defective Design(1) a pharmaceutical drug or medical device is not defective by design if it contains an adequate warning of an unavoidably unsafe aspect of the pharmaceutical or medical device; (2) the dangerous aspect is inherent to the product, recognizable, and cannot be eliminated without compromising the product’s usefulness; (3) a lack of a feasible alternative design. 2307.75 (d)(e)(f).

EXAMPLES:

What is a manufacturing defect?
  • A manufacturing defect is based on a defect that occurred during the manufacturing process. Many auto companies have been involved in this kind of product liability lawsuits in recent years, due to defective airbags, software defects, tire failure, and other dangerous manufacturing errors.

    Most manufacturing defect cases are based on a products deviation from the intended specification, formula, performance standards, or design model. In such cases, it may be easy to determine the product did not comply with the intended design.

    The product may be recalled as a specific lot is identified as being non-compliant and defective. A product may be defective in manufacture or construction, materials and assembly, and a manufacturer or distributor may be subject to strict liability, even though it exercised all possible care.  Ohio Revised Code 2307.74.


    Manufacturing Defect Examples:

What is a failure to warn lawsuit?

In determining whether a product is defective due to inadequate warning or instruction, evidence must be presented to prove:

  • The manufacturer knew, or in the exercise of reasonable care, should have known about a risk
  • A reasonable manufacturer would have provided a warning of the risk
  • The manufacturer failed to provide the warning
  • The person was injured due to a lack of warning. The same elements apply whether the claim is based on a warning present during the marketing or post-sale warnings.

Defenses to Failure to Warn Claims(1) the risk was open and obvious or a matter of common knowledge; and (2) in cases of a pharmaceutical drug or medical device, the warning was provided to the prescribing physician (“Learned Intermediary Doctrine”).

Many pharmaceutical companies have been targeted in failure to warn lawsuits for either failing to place warnings on medication guides and packaging or failing to properly test their product before putting it to market.


 

What are consumer product safety regulations?

Design and manufacturing defects result in thousands of product recalls each year in the United States, initiated by federal safety agencies. Following injury and illness, regardless of recall status, victims and plaintiffs may pursue legal action and contact a product liability lawyer to begin the litigation process. Rightful compensation can be sought and help plaintiffs recover medical costs and other related damages.

Product liability law overlaps with regulatory law, which are the systems of legislative rules and administrative agencies, and part of federal and state governments. These agencies regulate the safety of the products sold to the public. Examples include:

  • The Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA;)
  • The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)

The listed government agencies, however, may initiate recalls of dangerous products but do not provide remedies or compensation for damages where an individual is injured due to the defective product.

Why should I hire The Lyon Firm?

Our Firm will help you find the answers.  The Firm has the experience, resources and dedication to take on difficult and emotional cases and help our clients obtain the justice for the wrong they have suffered. 

 Experience:  Joe Lyon is an experienced Cincinnati Product Liability Lawyer. The Lyon Firm has 17 years of experience and success representing individuals and plaintiffs in all fifty states, and in a variety of complex civil litigation matters.   Product Liability lawsuits can be complex and require industry experts to determine the root cause of an accident or injury.  Mr. Lyon has worked with experts nationwide to assist individuals understand why an injury occurred and what can be done to improve their lives in the future. Some cases may go to a jury trial, though many others can be settled out of court.

Resources/Dedication: Mr. Lyon has worked with experts in the fields of accident reconstruction, biomechanics, epidemiology, metallurgy, pharmacology, toxicology, human factors, workplace safety, life care planning, economics, and virtually every medical discipline in successfully representing Plaintiffs across numerous areas of law. The Lyon Firm is dedicated to building the strongest cases possible for clients and their critical interests.

Results:  Mr. Lyon has obtained numerous seven and six figure results in personal injury,  automotive product liability, medical negligence, construction accidents, and auto dealership negligence casesThe cases have involved successfully litigating against some of  the largest companies in the world 

Discovering a Product Defect:
Initial Steps

 

  1. Secure the product;
  2. Obtain a complete history from the client and any witnesses on the purchase, use and incident with the product
  3. Obtain all incident or accident reports and photographs;
  4. Obtain medical records of admission, EMS and first four days of hospital admission;
  5. Obtain any government agency via FOIA requests;
  6. Research any other similar incidents including lawsuits;
  7. Research any active recalls;
  8. Research any nuanced areas of law that the facts reveal;
  9. Consult with appropriate experts;
  10. Determine whether case merits filing a lawsuit
  11. Perform any product inspection or testing with appropriate protocols in place. 

Our Victories

The Lyon Firm aggressively, professionally, and passionately advocates for injured individuals and families against companies due to a defective product or recalled product to obtain just compensation under the law. 

DEFECTIVE LAP BELT RESTRAINT

SPINAL CORD INJURY

(Pikeville, Kentucky): Confidential settlement for Plaintiff who suffered spinal cord injury resulting in paraplegia due to defectively designed seat belt. Four passengers with three-point (lap/shoulder) belts walked away from the accident, and the only passenger wearing a two-point belt (lap only) suffered a debilitating spinal cord injury. The settlement assisted with home improvements to assist in daily living. GM entered federal bankruptcy during the process and no longer manufactures two-point lap belts for vehicles.

DEFECTIVE PROPANE WALL HEATER

WRONGFUL DEATH 

(Hillsboro, Ohio): Confidential Settlement for the family of elderly man who was catastrophically burned while operating a propane wall heater. The burns resulted in his unfortunate death. The heater, manufactured and sourced from China, was alleged to allow the flame to reach outside the grid area in violation of ANSI standards. The Defendant resolved the case following discovery and mediation. The recovered funds were paid to the victim’s surviving spouse and children. The company no longer manufactures this type of heater.

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