Other Types of Personal Injury
Product Liability law deals with the liability of a manufacturer, wholesaler or retailer of a product for injuries resulting from that product. This includes the manufacturer of component parts of the product, an assembling manufacturer, the wholesaler, the retail store or the ultimate seller of the product, and any other party in the distributive chain, regardless of whether you actually purchased the item yourself.
Product Liability law gives consumers the ability to sue for and recover damages from manufacturers, distributors and vendors for injuries resulting from accidents caused by products. Virtually all products are subject to product liability law and this does not just include items on the store shelves. Products subject to the law run the spectrum from food, pet food, drugs, appliances, automobiles, medical devices, medical implants, blood, tobacco, gases, real estate, writings, maps, and even commercial jets.
Strict Liability is the term used to describe situations in which a person can be held liable for damages caused to another person even without negligence or other fault. Strict Liability means “liability without fault,” therefore a person is liable whether or not they were negligent and whether or not they intended to do any harm. The law imposes strict liability on inherently or abnormally dangerous activities, or activities that are likely to cause particular kinds of harm. A typical example of this type of activity is the use of explosives – if injury results from the use of explosives, regardless of the purpose for which they are used and the care exercised, the operator of the explosives is liable to those damaged by their use.
Strict Liability is also often imposed on manufactured products, under the law of product liability. Strict Liability claims do not involve proof of whether or not someone acted reasonably or used appropriate care in manufacturing a certain product. Translated to products liability terms, a defendant in a product liability claim will be found liable for damages to a plaintiff if it is found that the product is defective, regardless of whether the manufacturer or supplier exercised great care when designing and manufacturing it. As such, a plaintiff does not have to demonstrate that the manufacturer or vendor was negligent or careless, only that:
- A defect in the product caused the accident.
- The individual was using the product in a manner consistent with the way it was meant to be used.
- The product was not substantially changed between the time it left the seller or manufacturer’s hands and the time it reached the plaintiff.
Even if you are not the original owner of the merchandise you can sue for product liability. For example, if a friend lends you a power saw that turns out to be defective and injures you, you can file a Product Liability claim against the manufacturer, distributor, wholesaler and/or vendor of the item. Even a company that doesn’t actually make a product, but merely puts its label on it, is liable for any injuries the item causes.
In a negligence claim, a plaintiff must show that a manufacturer, seller, wholesaler or other party involved in the distributive chain had a duty to exercise reasonable care in the process of manufacturing or selling a product and failed to fulfill that duty which resulted in injury to the plaintiff. Negligence consists of doing something that a person of ordinary prudence would not do under the same or similar circumstances or failing to do something that a person of ordinary prudence would do under the same or similar circumstances. Some forms of negligence include:
- Negligence in drawing up or reviewing plans for a product.
- Negligence in maintaining the machines that make the component parts of the product.
- Negligence in failure to anticipate probable uses of the product.
- Negligence in failure to inspect or test the product adequately.
- Negligence in issuing inadequate warnings or instructions regarding the use of the product.
- Negligence in any other aspect of the manufacturing or distribution process where due care is not used.
Breach of Warranty Claim
A breach of warranty claim arises under the law of contracts, where the law imposes certain “implied warranties” on the sale of goods. Such warranties include the warranty of merchantability (that the goods are in proper condition for use and free of defects), and the warranty of fitness for a particular purpose (e.g., the refrigerator must be able to keep food cold and fresh; the chair must be capable of supporting a person’s weight). These warranties are called implied warranties because the law assumes that they apply even if they are not expressly stated. If a product does not meet these standards, the purchaser may have the right to return it and have the purchase price returned or at times they can receive monetary damages. The law of contracts covers economic loss caused by the breach of warranties in the sale of goods. The Uniform Commercial Code, Article 2, also deals with the sales of goods and the implied and express warranties of merchantability in the sales of goods §§ 2-314 and 2-315.
What can I do?
If you or a loved one is a victim of personal injuries, please contact Fiore & Barber, LLC at 215-256-0205 or via email. Our initial consultation is free of charge, and if we agree to accept your case, we will work on a contingent fee basis, which means we get paid for our services only if there is a monetary award or recovery of funds on your behalf. You may have a valid claim and be entitled to compensation for your injuries.
Disclaimer: The material contained on this website is afforded for information purposes only. The materials do not constitute legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship.