Defective Product Liability Claims 101
January 27, 2014
The Philadelphia personal injury attorneys at Galfand Berger believe that the manufacturers of products owe a duty to their customers to make sure that they are not unnecessarily harmed when using them. Unfortunately, every year, thousands of people in the U.S. sustain injuries due to defective products. If you or a loved one has suffered one of these injuries, you may be able to file a product liability claim and be compensated for any harm the dangerous product caused.
A product is generally considered defective under the law if it is not safe for its intended use. Not only are the manufacturers of a product responsible for an unsafe product, but any party that is involved in the distribution and sale of the product are responsible as well.
There are several different types of “defects” that can make a product unsafe that can give rise to a products liability claim; these include defective manufacturing, defective design, or failure to provide adequate instructions for proper use. Any of these defects can cause serious injuries, but each requires a different approach to establishing how the defendant is responsible.
Defective manufacturing claims arise from when there is an error in how an otherwise safely designed product was made. In these cases, the product has been altered during manufacturing in a way that can result in injury. For example, the product (or a group of products manufactured in a lot) may be missing an essential part, such as a vehicle without brake pads, or contains something extra that can be harmful, such as medicine with a contaminating ingredient. In other cases, a part of the product might be defective, such as a swing set with a cracked chain. When presenting a case of defective manufacturer liability, a plaintiff must show that the injury was caused by the defect in the product itself, and not as a result of misuse..
For a defectively designed product, the injury-causing product may have been manufactured correctly, but has a characteristic flaw in the design. Some examples of defectively designed products include a car that is prone to flipping when making a tight turn, or an electric blanket that can electrocute the user when on its high setting. In these cases, much like the defective manufacturing cases, the plaintiff must prove that the design of the product is responsible for the injuries. If there are other circumstances that could have contributed to the injury, such as a car accident involving another vehicle, you would have to establish that the accident occurred as a result of the car’s instability while making a turn.
The third category of product liability claims is failure to provide adequate instructions. This includes all types of proper handling and safety instructions, especially if the product has a unique design that could present hidden dangers. Types of products that cause these injuries might include an electric tea kettle with an unusually placed steam valve, a cough syrup that could have dangerous drug interactions, or a paint-removing chemical without proper handling instructions. When a manufacturer fails to warn of a potential danger and an individual is injured as a result, he or she can pursue a failure-to-warn claim. However, the plaintiff must establish that the injury was caused by this hidden danger, and that had they known of the danger through proper warning and instruction, the danger would have been avoided.
Philadelphia Personal Injury Law Firm of Galfand Berger Advocates for Those Injured by Defective Products
Knowing what type of product liability claim you have is essential to building a legal strategy. If you or a loved one has been injured because of a defective or dangerous product, an experienced personal injury attorney can help you determine what category your claim falls into as well as how to pursue your case to get you the maximum compensation for your suffering.
The Philadelphia products liability lawyers of Galfand Berger LLP have been helping injury victims since 1947, and are well-versed in the many types of liability claims. They will put their knowledge and experience to work to ensure that the appropriate parties are held responsible for their negligence. With offices located in Philadelphia, Reading, and Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania, including the Allentown and Harrisburg regions, and Southern New Jersey. Call us toll-free at 1-800-222-USWA (8792) or contact us online for a free consultation with one of our knowledgeable defective product attorneys.