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Injured by a defective product? Here's a product liability primer

As a consumer, when you buy a product, you expect it will work as advertised. The refrigerator will keep things cold. That toy will entertain your child for hours. The over-the-counter medicine you buy will stop that nasty cold from developing.

But what happens when faulty wiring on the fridge leads to a fire and injury to someone in your home? How about when a small part comes dislodged from the toy and your toddler nearly chokes on it? Or what if that medicine has side effects that actually harm — and not help — you?

Every year, thousands of Americans are injured by products that turn out to be defective or dangerous. Fortunately, Oklahoma has product liability laws designed to hold the person or company accountable for their product.

The laws require that products must meet consumers' reasonable expectations. A product that is defective or dangerous fails to do that. Liability for a defective product could be traced back to the product manufacturer, the company that manufactures certain components of the final product or an assembler or installer.

To win a product liability case, it must be shown that a product's defect caused an injury. Those can be defects with the design or the manufacturing process. A defect also can occur if the product was improperly marketed, whether in its labeling, instructions or lack of proper safety warnings. You also must be ready to show that your negligence didn't cause the product to fail.

You deserve compensation for your losses, including medical expenses, but product liability law is a complex legal field. An attorney who is experienced in product liability law can answer questions you undoubtedly will have if a product creates an adverse effect for you.

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