When you have suffered injuries as a result of using a defective product, you may have a legal claim against the manufacturer, distributor, and retailer of the product. This type of legal claim is a product liability lawsuit. The defect in a product that injures a person and leads to a product liability lawsuit can be a defect in the design, manufacturing, or marketing of a product.
Product liability lawsuits are different from regular personal injury lawsuits. These legal claims rely on the legal duty of product developers and manufacturers to produce only products that are safe for regular consumer use. When companies that develop, make, and distribute these products and their defects harm consumers, those companies may be liable. They face liability for their products regardless of the fact that they had no intention of creating defective products or harming anyone.
What Are the Different Types of Defective Products?
Product liability lawsuits concern three main types of product defects: design defects, manufacturing or production defects, and marketing defects. Each of these defects can injure consumers, which can result in product liability lawsuits. Defective products may exist across all industries, from toys to household appliances to motor vehicles.
Whenever a person or company comes up with a new product, they must spend a significant amount of time designing the product before they can produce, test, market, and sell it to consumers. In some cases, the design of a product contains a defect that makes it inherently dangerous to consumers. Some common examples of design defects include appliances that have a heightened risk of catching fire and motor vehicles with an increased tendency to roll over during accidents.
Manufacturing defects occur when the product’s design is safe, but something goes wrong in the manufacturing or production process that makes the product dangerous. As a result, this type of defect may not be present in all of a certain type of product. For instance, suppose that contamination affects baby food manufactured during a specific range of dates.
The manufacturer discovers and fixes the problem that is leading to contamination. Baby food made before or after the range of dates in question is likely uncontaminated and safe for consumer use.
Product defects also can occur in the packaging, labeling, and advertising or marketing of a product. For instance, if the package insert that comes with a new blender fails to properly warn of potential hazards that might occur during the foreseeable use of the product by consumers, it may have a marketing defect. If a toy contains no packaging warnings about the risks of children choking on the toy, and the toy causes a child to choke, a marketing defect may exist.
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What do You Have to Prove in a Product Liability Lawsuit?
In most personal injury lawsuits, such as those that result when you suffer injuries in a car accident, you must prove that the responsible party was negligent in causing the crash. Negligence refers to careless or reckless actions that fall below the standard of care that a reasonable person would exercise in a similar situation.
A product liability lawsuit is not dependent on a finding of negligence. As a consumer, you have a right to expect that the products that you use in everyday life are safe. You assume that the product will not cause you any harm if you use it as expected. This legal duty is known as strict liability. One agency that helps monitor consumer products for defects is the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), which has the power to order companies to recall dangerous products in some instances.
Although there are some defenses for product designers, manufacturers, and distributors in product liability lawsuits, they generally are strictly liable for the products they create and make available for consumer use. As a result, those companies likely will face legal responsibility for any injuries that their defective products cause.
Call Our Office for a Free Consultation Today
A product liability lawsuit is based on a design, manufacturing, or marketing defect in a consumer product that injures people who use the product. If you or a loved one suffers injuries as a result of using a consumer product, you should get legal advice about your situation as quickly as possible. Under 42 Pa. C.S. § 5524, injury victims generally have only two years from the date of their injuries to file their product liability lawsuits. Failure to meet this deadline can result in the dismissal of your case.
Contact the offices of Berger and Green by calling (412) 661-1400 a free consultation with one of our product liability attorneys.