Seeking Damages in Product Liability Cases

The families and estates of two Atlanta police officers have filed lawsuits against several companies after the pair was killed two years ago when a department helicopter they were flying crashed into power lines.

The two officers were aiding in the search for a missing 9-year-old boy on Nov. 3, 2012, but were killed when the Hughes OH-6 helicopter hit the power lines near the intersection of the Martin Luther King Jr. and Hamilton E. Holmes drives, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Now, attorneys for the families have filed suit in the Fulton County Superior Court against Hughes Aircraft Division of The Boeing Company, Honeywell International Inc., engine-maker Rolls-Royce Corp., Rotor Resources LLC and Kenneth Paul Dudley, who overhauled the helicopter in 2005.

According to the AJC, the suits claim there were various problems with the design and manufacture of the helicopter and its components. Now the families are seeking damages for the deaths of the officers with the products liability suits.

Georgia Code ┬ž 51-1-11 states that a manufacturer of a product is liable to the purchaser of a product if that purchaser is injured. The manufacturer also could be liable if the purchaser is injured in connection to a product that is “not merchantable and reasonably suitable to the use intended.”

Most product liability cases work on a theory called “strict liability.” Under the term strict liability, it does not matter if the manufacturer or seller was careless or negligent. It simply┬ámust be proven that the product sold had some sort of defect.

A product could have different kinds of defects under this law, including a design defect, a manufacturing defect or a defect due to inadequate warning. The families, according to the suits, are arguing both design and manufacturing defects in the helicopter.

A product could be considered to have a design defect if there is some sort of flaw in the inherent design that makes it unsafe for use. Generally, a product with a design flaw will have the same problem consistently across the market.

For example, if a particular make and model of a car is designed with a faulty airbag system, generally all cars produced would have the same issue. Manufacturing designs are different in that they can apply to a line or products or simply one product.

Products with manufacturing defects have a safe design, but they have been made in a way that is dangerous because they have not been produced properly. This could be caused by using faulty materials, following poor procedures or simply making a mistake.

A defect due to inadequate warning also is called a marketing defect. In these cases, the manufacturer did not fulfill its responsibility to give adequate warning to consumers about known or reasonably foreseeable dangers.

In these product liability cases, the manufacturer could be responsible for damages after an injury or death. The company or companies involved could be forced to pay for property damage, medical bills, lost wages and even pain and suffering. A personal injury attorney can help recover damages.

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ReShea Balams

Reshea Balams

A native of Birmingham, Alabama, ReShea Balams focuses her practice on personal injury litigation. Over the past several years, she has represented individuals and families in serious personal injury cases in the Atlanta metropolitan area.

  • American Association for Justice
  • Georgia Trial Lawyers Association
  • Atlanta Bar Association
  • Gate City Bar Association
  • The National Crime Victim Bar Association
  • State Bar of Georgia
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