Texas is one of the largest states in the United States. It is a home of innovation, business, and commercial establishment. It keeps on progressing over the years. That’s why most businesses keep on looking for ways to protect their company and their innovation, which is the product itself.
Note that in Texas, the statute pays close attention to the products that the consumers are using. It means that if your products possess the slightest harm, there is an equivalent punishment for the cause of harm. Consider this, and a product can be considered defective if it portrays an unsafe design, diversify its design, and most importantly, the lack or missing warning and instructions of usage.
People assume that the products they are using are safe, designed, and planned carefully, tested, and labeled thoroughly to ensure that every consumer is safe and sound. However, there are still cases of accidents and injuries caused by defective products. It is common, and the victims can actually file a lawsuit and demand compensation.
So, how does Product Liability in Texas work?
What is Product Liability Insurance
In Texas, product liability insurance works as business insurance that financially secures you against the claims against the injured customers or people who suffered from property damage because of a specific product. It was under the Civil Practice and Remedies Code. Note that companies sometimes suffer even if they have not manufactured and market the product to the public.
When you heard the word product liability, it happens when a customer buys a product, and it causes an issue that results in problems and damages. Know that the primarily liable for this matter are the business owners. So, small businesses are at risk, and they need insurance to protect themselves. Here are some of the common issues about product liability claims:
- Bodily injuries caused by the product;
- Sickness caused by the product, especially under the food and beverage industry; and
- Property damage caused by the products.
What are the types of Product Defects?
A defect in the Design
It is an issue present on the product before it was even made. It can happen when the design of the product is faulty and unsafe. A product can be considered with design defects if the consumers are exposed to injury risks or death. In Texas Laws, if the products have obvious and inherent risks considering their nature, like power tools, then it is not defective. However, note that if there is a possibility of lowering the risks for the design, and the business did not use it, it is considered a design defect.
A defect in the manufacturing
A manufacturing defect is an issue that happens during the creation of the product. There is a high chance that the product was assembled wrong or a part is missing.
Know that products with adequate labels and safe design can still be subject to defects, especially during the production process. In the same way, if the seller modifies the item substantially, which makes it unsafe, then the seller is liable and responsible for the bodily injuries. The downside of this product defect is it is difficult to document, and most of it is at random and may not appear to every product.
A defect in the marketing
This concern is not related to the product, and it focuses on how the product was market to the customers. It happens when the product has incorrect labeling, no proper safety warnings, or even a lack of safety instructions.
A product can be considered a defect if it falls in the following cases:
- The customers and users were not properly advised on the risks associated with using the product that would not be predictable or obvious to a person.
- The customers and users were not given proper instructions on how to use and utilize the product.
- The instructions and labels factually misrepresented the items and products that contributed to the consumer’s personal injury.
If the design or labeling of a product follows the federal regulations, then the manufacturer is not responsible nor liable for any personal injuries that allegedly occurred from marketing design defects.
If you have your product liability insurance, you will be entitled to financial protection against any legal costs or lawsuits regarding your product.
Is Product Liability Insurance Important
Small business owners think that insurance is not essential, and it is just a waste of money because of its costs. But, that is not the reality. Even if you are running a food and beverage shop, or trendy clothing, and even materials, there are still chances that you will be at risk. So, it would help if you always looked for ways to protect yourself from any product liability claims. Remember, the moment you decide on selling a product, your risk has already started. It is also important to note that product liability claims are expensive and come with a long tiring process. You will never want to experience that.
Here is the list of the businesses that need product liability insurance:
- Clothing Stores
- Coffee Shops
- Gift Shops
- Print and copy shops
- Pet Stores
Also, know that product liability claims are not limited to business-to-customer operations, it can also directly affect business-to-business operations. If you are selling a product for another business, then you need to have product liability insurance. Here are some of the businesses that you need to take note of:
- Website creators or designers
- Software developers
- Equipment suppliers
- Raw materials supplier
Texas Product Liability Laws
People who are injured because of defective products have the chance to recover from the damages they encounter through product liability. Know that since Texas product liability is not available in federal laws, it is all addressed in the state. Not all states specifically cover the claims for product liability, but it is still addressed under general tort statutes. Texas law, for example, provides a detailed process under product liability.
Basics of Texas Product Liability
Know that one of the liability offenses that you can encounter in Texas is product liability. It means that negligence is not a choice; if your product caused harm, then the defendant, in this case, is liable.
Texas State Law Recognized Product Defects
Products with defective designs would endanger the customers or users even if it made of quality and flawless materials. Remember that there is a huge difference between showing a dangerous product and providing a defective design. If a product is truly dangerous to a specific user, manufacturers are not liable for the personal injuries obtained using the product.
Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code ruled that the plaintiff getting a product design with a defect should not just say that the product was unsafe. It should also prove the following:
- The business can use a less dangerous design;
- Using the design can be used from a technological and financial standpoint;
- The other designs can minimize the potential injury.
The injured customer and user should also prove that their life was harmed because of the product design defect.
- The product, specifically toys, can easily be eaten by children
- Cars accelerate on their own
If the product was intended to be used in a specific way, the manufacturer should minimize the potential risks by providing detailed and step-by-step instructions. Failure to do so can lead to a product liability claim.
Here are some of the situations regarding failure to warn processes:
- Problems caused by birth control drug
- Improperly installed chair that results to an accident
Failure to warn the customers is also a violation of Texas laws. It happened when the manufacturer did not provide proper instructions and warnings on the product usage.
Consider also the manufacturing defect, it may not always happen in identical products, but still, there is a chance that you will suffer from it. Some of the common manufacturing defects that you should be wary of are the following:
- The safety lock on cars are not working properly;
- The faulty handle on the equipment
Product Claims Process in Texas
If the product has any of the abovementioned defects, then the statute of limitations allows you to file a claim to the manufacturer or seller within 15 years of purchase. It means you will have additional time if the injury was delayed or the product manufacturer offers long years of warranty. The 15 years of time allotted to consumers is also known as the statute of repose.
Defective Vehicle Liability Claim in Texas
Houston, Texas, is a progressive city. It helps consumers to manage and get their needs. One of the most common product liability involves cars.
A single-vehicle is composed of thousands of parts that can be potentially harmful or improperly designed. Some of the defective vehicle claims that injured and killed citizens in Texas are the following:
- Defective tires
- Airbag defects
- Failure of seat belts
- SUV crashes
- Roof failure
- Defective child car seats
- Gas tank explosion and rupture
- Defective door latches
- Failure of seatback
It is also essential to note that every car comes with different designers and manufacturers, depending on each part. If you are happened to be injured by the defective part, a variety of parties can be liable for the accident, such as:
- Car manufacturer
- Wholesale company
- Manufacturer of the parts
- The company that installs or assembles the cars
- The retail store that sells the product
Other Insurance Coverage to Consider
Commercial General Liability Insurance
It is an insurance coverage policy that aims to protect your business from any financial loss against any lawsuits and other bodily injury and property damage caused by the product you sell or the service you provide. It also protects your employees who are conducting your business on hand.
Data Breach and Cyber Risk
Cyber-attacks remain the most dangerous threat that you can encounter in your business, and they progressively rise over time because of the modernization and digitalization of the businesses. This coverage can help you minimize the chances of cyberattacks. It also helps you compensate the victims and protect you from any financial costs.
It is insurance that helps you protect your business and your profession if your advice caused harm or financial loss. Your professional liability coverage can help you financially from lawsuits or other consequences that might occur.
Every small business owner relies on their property, equipment, tools, and technology to maintain and manage their business. Your property insurance can help you manage, repair, and replace your damaged property.
Equipment Breakdown Insurance
It is a policy that protects your equipment against damages caused by fire, natural disasters like floods, and weather. But, faulty electrical and mechanical damages are not covered in this insurance policy.
Commercial Auto Insurance
If you are using auto or cars for your business, then commercial auto insurance can help you in case you suffer from an accident and property damage. It helps you financially, making sure that your business is protected and safe.
Texas is a hopeful state that makes things possible. From its rise to innovations, technology, and even business, make everything work smoothly. It makes every product worth it and minimizes the chances of personal injury or liability cases.
Product liability helps small businesses ensure that their business is safe against liability cases. The state also provides personal injury lawyers in case you want another deal. Note that the federal aims to protect every consumer regardless of their everyday activity.
There are different types of processes on how to minimize the risks of the sellers. Know that product liability cases focus on the manufacturers or sellers who fail to label their product well and harming other people. If that happens, you need to shoulder the personal injury and the claims against the defective product.
It would be great if you will look for an attorney that can assist you with everyday tasks. It matters because it can protect you financially in case something happens.