What is a Product Liability Case?

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February 12, 2015
Colson Hicks Eidson

Attorney Lewis S. “Mike” Eidson Explains

Product liability cases occur when a reasonable consumer uses a product as instructed and suffers injury or loss as a result. In many of our investigations, we find out that companies knew that they were making dangerous products but decided to put them on the market anyway since it would take a lot of time and money to fix the problem. In this video, Lewis S. “Mike” Eidson describes one of many defective product cases that he has handled throughout his career.

Video Transcription

Well, I’ll give an example of a product liability case that shows how the parts that are defective are not expensive and it’s not sophisticated but it can cause tremendous number of injuries and deaths. We handled a case involving a Chrysler minivan about 25 years ago, and a car was involved in a side-impact accident, involved actually the front driver’s door. Our client was sitting in the third seat with her child in a car seat … And she wasn’t belted because she was taking care of the little girl. There was absolutely no damage to the rear hatchback door. On impact, the door immediately popped open. The latch did not hold the door.

We found in a product liability case that involved property damage. In northern New York somebody had posted a memorandum they had discovered from Chrysler, and somebody found it, he said, for a quarter. They went out and did a study to redesign the door latch so that wouldn’t happen anymore, and it cost 25 cents a car … So somebody made a decision in their engineering department not to change the door latches. So we added that to our evidence in the case that we were already handling against Chrysler, and on Thursday Chrysler issued a recall of 4 million minivans to replace the door latch on the hatchback.

This poor woman, who was 35 years old, sitting in the third seat with her child, when the door popped open in the back and the car was spinning, she got thrown out the back door, and she suffered catastrophic brain injury and paralyzed from the neck down, all because of a 25-cent part. At that time, we noticed that there were quite a few of these cases, and once they recalled the vehicles and fixed the part, I don’t recall any more cases where the rear hatchback door opened.