A product liability lawsuit is a legal action that the plaintiff (a consumer) brings against the manufacturers, distributors, and/or retailers of a product that injured them by virtue of a defect of design, manufacture, or marketing.
Some product liability lawsuits are individual actions. Other times, plaintiffs with similar qualifications group together for a collective legal action known as a class-action lawsuit.
Strict Liability in Product Liability Lawsuits
Product liability tort differs from other torts law in a significant way. Whereas other forms of personal injury tort require the plaintiff to prove that the defendant negligently or willfully caused their injury, product liability plaintiffs enjoy the benefit of strict liability.
This means that the plaintiff need only prove that the product was defective, and the defect caused the plaintiff to suffer an injury.
Without having to prove negligence, proving the case may simply boil down to proving the defect and proving the injury.
Ways in Which a Product Can Be Defective
Product liability tort rests on the premise that a consumer’s injuries result from the use of a product that is “defective.” A defect can manifest in any of three scenarios:
Before a product is manufactured, assembled, marketed, or sold, it must be designed. When the product has been made according to its design, and it causes injury, the product is considered to be defective by design. If, for example, a motor vehicle tends to roll over on sharp turns, the defect is inherent to the vehicle’s design.
Plaintiffs bear the burden of proof in cases of product liability by a design defect in New York. The argument against the defendant may be required to prove that there was a foreseeable risk in the product’s design. In some cases, the plaintiff might also have to prove that a reasonable, alternative design was feasible.
Sometimes a product’s design meets consumers’ safety needs, but something goes wrong during the manufacturing of the product, resulting in a defect or flaw that causes injury. This type of defect may show up in only some of the products that come out of production, rather than affecting an entire product line. Contaminated foods and airbags lacking functional deployment mechanisms are examples of this type of defect.
The manner in which a product is labeled, packaged, marketed, advertised, or sold may also cause it to be defective in the eyes of the law. If a child’s toy is not labeled with a warning of choking hazards, for example, and a toddler chokes on the toy, the seller may be liable for damages under product liability tort.
The U.S. Department of Justice publishes information on current or recent product liability cases on their website.
How Defendants Can Combat a Product Liability Claim
Companies defending themselves in product liability cases may draw on one of two defenses. The risk-utility test shows the court that the product’s uses outweigh any risk of harm it may pose. The consumer expectation test rides on the idea that a “reasonable” consumer would not find the product to be defective when used reasonably.
Companies may also challenge the severity of your injuries or the claim that your injuries were caused by their defective product.
Recoverable Damages in a Product Liability Case
Recoverable damages from one product liability case may not be the same as those from another case—even if the same defective product caused injuries in both cases. Plaintiffs across cases endure distinctive injuries with unique economic and non-economic effects.
In general, you may be able to recover the following damages in a product liability case:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Reduced earning capability
- Pain and suffering
- Other non-economic damages
- And more
When you hire a product liability lawsuit lawyer to represent you in your claim for damages, the attorney can collect medical reports, wage statements, and other evidence to calculate the exact value of your case.
If your loved one died from the injuries they suffer from a defective product, you may also be entitled to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit against.
Call Gacovino, Lake & Associates, P.C. for Help With Your Product Liability Lawsuit
A product liability lawsuit is not something you need to face alone. If a defective product caused you or a loved one to suffer injury, a product liability lawyer from Gacovino, Lake & Associates, P.C. may be able to represent you.
Call Gacovino, Lake & Associates, P.C. today at (631) 600-0000 for a free, no-obligation consultation on your case.