Use of dangerous or defective products can cause serious injury. A defective product is one that was either designed with defects, manufactured improperly, or carried insufficient warnings. Product liability cases can include unsafe or defective toys, furniture, motor vehicles, industrial equipment, pharmaceutical products, appliances, machinery, and medical devices. Consumers may assert claims against not only the manufacturer of the product, but also distributors and retailers who place the product in the stream of commerce. It is important to retain counsel who are experienced with this very unique area of law, including the areas of strict liability and breach of warranty, to maximize value in product liability cases. If you have been a victim of a dangerous or defective product, contact us to discuss the legal options available to you.
Products Liability Claims
A products liability case may be brought under several theories, including negligence, strict liability, and warranty. In a products liability action, regardless of the theory on which the plaintiff seeks recovery, he must establish three elements:
(1) he was injured by the product;
(2) the injury occurred because the product was in a defective condition, unreasonably dangerous to the user; and
(3) that the product at the time of the accident was in essentially the same condition as when it left the hands of the defendant.
Failure to Warn / Manufacturing Defect / Design Defects
In a failure to warn case, the plaintiff must show that there was a failure to provide warnings or instructions that were adequate to safeguard against mishaps or injuries. In manufacturing defect cases, the plaintiff must show the product does not conform to the manufacturer’s specifications to prove it is defective. In design defect cases, the plaintiff must show that a flaw in the design of the product.
Defense of Product Misuse
A manufacturer is entitled to expect a normal and proper use of its product. Misuse occurs when the product is used for a purpose neither intended nor foreseeable by its manufacturer or distributor, such as where the consumer or user fails to follow directions or uses a product in contravention of sufficient warnings or knowingly violates plain, unambiguous instructions or warnings as to the use of the product.
To prove a defective condition due to negligence, the plaintiff bears the burden of demonstrating the defendant seller or manufacturer failed to exercise due care in some respect. In general, parties in the chain of distribution of a product, including manufacturers, sellers, wholesalers, distributors or other middlemen in the manufacturing and selling process, have a duty of reasonable care with respect to the product. A breach of this duty renders such parties liable in negligence for injury or damage caused by a defect in the product.
Breach of Warranty
To recover under a cause of action for breach of warranty, the plaintiff must prove four essential elements:
(1) the existence of an express or implied warranty;
(2) a breach of the defendant’s express or implied warranty;
(3) a causal connection between the defendant’s breach and the plaintiff’s injury or damage; and
(4) the extent of loss proximately caused by the defendant’s breach.
A warranty is a statement or representation made by the seller of goods, contemporaneously with and as a part of the contract of sale, although collateral to the express object of the sale, having reference to the character, quality, fitness, or title of the goods, and by which the seller promises or undertakes to insure that certain facts are or shall be as he then represents them.
A warranty is express when the seller makes an affirmation with respect to the article to be sold, pending the contract of sale, upon which it is intended that the buyer shall rely in making the purchase. A warranty is implied when the law derives it by implication or inference from the nature of the transaction or the relative situation or circumstances of the parties.
The doctrine of strict liability is a rule under which liability is imposed, without regard to the exercise of reasonable care, on one who sells a product in a defective condition unreasonably dangerous to the user or consumer, for physical harm caused to the ultimate user or consumer, or to his property, if the seller is engaged in the business of selling such product, and the product is expected to and does reach the user or consumer without substantial change in the condition in which it is sold. Under strict liability, recovery by a plaintiff may be had even though a seller has exercised all possible care in the preparation and sale of his product.
Products Liability Attorney
It is important to retain counsel who are experienced in evaluating and litigating product liability cases to maximize the value of your case. It is important to retain counsel who are experienced with this very unique area of law, including the areas of strict liability and breach of warranty, to maximize value in product liability cases. If you have been a victim of a dangerous or defective product, contact us to discuss the legal options available to you.