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Negligent Tort

Among the many unsafe products recalled in 2015, there was the 2015 SCOTT® Vanish Evo Bicycle Helmet. On February 2015, the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recalled the Vanish Evo Bicycle Helmets due to a head injury hazard. The commission found out that these helmets did not obey the impact necessities of the CPSC safety provisions for bicycle helmets. This product has been discussed in this paper under the following key areas; duty of care, standards of care, breach of the duty of care, actual causation, proximate causation, actual injury, and defenses to negligence.

The manufacturer of this helmet would still be held liable for negligence even when this product had not been recalled. Ward noted that “The act for liability for defective products, Act of 1999” (2010), held the manufacturers accountable for the damage caused by this helmet. The law also obligated other parties in the product chain distribution. These included the exporters, importers, wholesalers, retailers, installers, repairers, and the final product consumers (Ward, 2010). A negligent action required the complainant to prove the defendant’s negligence in the manufacture of these helmets.

Initially, only the manufacturers were held accountable for duty of care regarding their manufactured helmets. However, this responsibility has been extended to all participants in the chain of distribution of these products. That includes manufacturers, importers, distributors, suppliers, repairers, retailers and wholesaler, inspectors and certifiers, and users. However, the mandate of the manufacturer to duty of care was broad. McDougall and Popat (2010) suggested that consumers who used defective helmets were to be held accountable for the duty of care.

Retailers were required by law to report information about essence to the manufacturers, regarding these helmets. Suppliers, wholesalers, and retailers were held liable for their negligence to communicate warning information regarding the helmet use (Ward, 2010).
The government established standards to be met by product manufacturers (McDougall &Popat, 2010). A number of factors inform the standards of care, including the type of product, type of user, risks associated with the product, the manner in which the product is used, and its utility, to mention but a few. These helmets did not meet the above set standards, as they were found to be hazardous to the users. A product should meet standards fixed by the government and its manufacturer. Helmet manufacturers were to check on their quality, test their helmets, and inform the consumer about the possible risks associated with these products.

A breach of the duty of care arose when the parties in the helmet chain of distribution caused defects in the product. In particular situations, the manufacturers failed to provide information concerning the usage of the mask, thus leading to the devices being wrongly used. In such cases, they are said to have breached the duty of care and, therefore, any injury caused to the consumer could be attributed to their negligence. Wholesalers and retailers could forget to pass the necessary information about these helmets on stickers when repackaging them, thereby breaching the duty of care mandated to them. Mask users breached the duty of care especially when they failed to adhere to the instructions given by the manufacturer to guide their usage. Therefore, as shown by Ryder, Griffiths, and Singh, it was the responsibility of all the parties involved in helmet chain of distribution to ensure that duty of care was not breached. That ensured the safety of the helmet to the intended users.

Actual causation arose when the defect of the product caused the actual injury or damage to the consumer. The defective helmets led to injury to the user who complained about the negligence of the manufacturer. “The chain of causation can be broken by a manufacturer if he demonstrates that for unforeseeable interventions by the third party or event, the injury would not have occurred” (McDougall &Popat, 2010). When consumer proved that the loss would not have occurred but for the negligence of the manufacturer, the manufacturer was held liable for the injury and damage caused by the helmets. Despite being other causes to head injuries, the manufacturer was still responsible especially when the consumer proved that the negligence of the manufacturer materially caused the damage.

Proximate causation examined the probable injury or damage caused by the helmets. It looked at the probability of this product to cause harm to the users. The manufacturer was mandated to provide imperative information regarding the possible risks posed by their helmet as a warning. This information was used when analyzing the causes of injuries by the helmet from the probable risks outlined. The Proximate causation of head injuries was attributed to the product handlers from the manufacturers to exporters, to importers, to wholesalers, to retailers and finally to product users (Ward, 2010).

The consumer was entitled to compensation had they incurred injuries from these helmets (Ward, 2010). The defective helmets resulted in injuries to the users. The affected individuals, who suffered damages because of using masks, could sue the manufacturers for their negligence. They were compensated for the injuries or deaths caused, as a result. In evaluating liability for negligence, contributory negligence was considered. That was whereby the contributors to damage or injury was investigated to direct product liability to the right party. The manufacturer was spared liability of his product if he proved that the actual or proximate cause did not lie with them (Ryder, Griffiths & Singh, 2012). However, if the manufacturer’s product met the industry and government standards, the injury resulting from the user’s negligence when using the helmet did not lie with them. On the other hand, if the damage were established to be because of the manufacturer’s negligence, they would take responsibility. Any participants in the helmet chain of distribution could not be held accountable if they proved that the injury was not because of their negligence.

The Federal Hazardous Substance Act (FHSA) required certain hazardous domestic products, such as helmets, to have warning labels reflecting possible risks and injuries, especially when they were being used. This law ensured that the public was supplied with only certified and safe helmets in the market. It also gave CPSC the authority to regulate or ostracize hazardous helmets intended to be used by both children and adults. Other cases of products subject to this law comprise electrically operated toys, cribs, rattles, pacifiers, bicycles, and motorcycles. The public should be cautious about the recalled products, to ensure their safety and wellbeing.

References

McDougall, A., & Popat, P. (2010).International Product Law Manual Kluwer law international.Kluwer Law International.

Ryder, N., Griffiths, M., & Singh, L. (2012).Commercial law: Principles and policy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Ward, P. (2010). Tort law in Ireland. Alphen aan den Rijn, The Netherlands: Kluwer Law International.