When a company manufactures a product to be marketed to the public, the company is responsible for ensuring that their merchandise does not cause harm to customers. There are three main types of Illinois product liability claims:
1. A manufacturing defect, which generally occurs when an otherwise safe product is assembled carelessly;
2. A design defect, which occurs when, no matter how well the product is put together, its intent or layout is inherently dangerous;
3. A failure to warn, which can occur when a product markets a product that they know to be potentially hazardous, and fails to warn consumers of the latent danger.
Under Illinois law, the failure to warn consumers of the potential dangers associated with a hazardous product places liability squarely on the corporations who were negligent in their duty to caution against the danger. For that reason, there is the potential for Chicago personal injury cases to arise in the most recent situation involving a failure to warn.
According to recent reports by MSNBC, the makers of a popular contact lens solution have failed to adequately warn consumers about the dangers of using the product improperly, and the lack of forewarning has lead to dozens of incidents of burning eyes and emergency injuries.
Consumer safety advocacy groups maintain that packages of Clear Care contact lens cleaner, a product manufactured by multinational pharmaceutical conglomerate Novartis, don’t carry a strong enough caution that the 3 percent hydrogen peroxide solution shouldn’t be used directly in the eyes, or clear enough warnings that it must be used only with the product’s proprietary case that neutralizes the solution.
Despite the fact that Ciba Vision, the division of Novartis responsible for manufacturing the lens cleaner, has updated its labeling several times (including a recent update this year) consumers are still confused as to how to use the product safely, and aren’t otherwise made aware that that, if the Clear Care solution is utilized in the same way as similar products on the market, it can cause serious injury.
To date, more than 110 reports of eye problems caused by Clear Care have been reported since 2000 through the federal Food and Drug Administration’s device monitoring system, but officials say that that number is an underrepresentation. Because the FDA’s reporting system is voluntary, it could be that only a fraction of cases – perhaps as little as 1 percent – are actually reported to the FDA. The number of injuries caused by Clear Care could be significantly higher.
MSNBC reports that many of these FDA reports describe confusion because Clear Care bottles look the same and are sold near other multipurpose contact lens solutions used for rinsing and soaking lenses. Those products can be used directly in the eye with no problem. Conversely, Clear Care’s solution contains 3 percent hydrogen peroxide to clean the contact lenses. The Clear Care system includes a special contact lens case equipped with a platinum ring that neutralizes the peroxide after about six hours.
When used improperly, the hydrogen peroxide in Clear Care can burn the eyes, potentially causing serious, permanent damage. Several consumers reported that they rushed to hospital emergency rooms, where they were diagnosed with chemical burns, corneal ulcerations and other problems, says MSNBC.
When consumers are harmed because products are unsafe and those customers are not warned of the danger, it may form the basis for Illinois personal injury lawsuits to arise, and the corporations responsible for production may be made to pay compensatory damages to put the consumers back in the position they were in before the injuries occurred. This includes covering medical and hospital expenses, and in more serious cases, compensating the victim for a loss of normal life or lost wages.
In some cases when the companies’ errors are egregious, they may also be made to pay punitive damages which serve to punish the company and to send a message to that the corporation ought be more careful in the future.
Our attorneys have extensive experience handling claims for injuries that have occurred because of a company’s negligent practices. If you or a loved one have been injured by Clear Care solution or any other dangerous product, contact an attorney to be apprised of your rights under the law.