Product manufacturers and distributors have a duty to avoid selling dangerous and defective products that create a risk of harm to consumers and users. Despite the precautions that companies take and laws in place to protect consumers, serious product defects can harm or seriously injure a consumer. Our Philadelphia product liability lawyers are ready to help you fight for your rights after a defective item causes harm.
In Pennsylvania product liability lawsuits, a product owner can be held liable under theories of negligence, breach of warranty, unfair trade practices, strict liability, and the Consumer Protection law if their product causes injury to a consumer due to a product defect. The types of product liability cases are as diverse as the types of products that can cause harm – from industrial equipment to motor vehicles to toys to pharmaceuticals.
These cases are expensive to litigate and tough to win. Victims of unsafe products need a lawyer experienced in handling these types of claims. Fortunately, the Philadelphia product liability attorneys at Youman & Caputo are well versed in product liability cases and will fight for the best possible outcome for your individual circumstances.
If you or a loved one have been injured by a dangerous or defective product, we can help. Call (215) 302-1999 today for a free and confidential case evaluation.
Why Choose Youman & Caputo?
What is Product Liability?
What Items Are Subject to Product Liability Claims?
Seeking Compensation for Defective Product Injuries
Time Limits for Product Liability Cases
Determining Liable Parties in Defective Product Lawsuits
Potential Pitfalls in Philadelphia Product Liability Cases
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The product liability recoveries that Youman and Caputo have secured or helped secure in their careers include:
Product liability is an area of law that allows consumers to hold manufacturers, distributors, and retailers accountable for the injuries that their products cause. These entities may be held responsible regardless of their intent or knowledge of the defect or dangerous condition. Typically, product defect claims fall into four categories:
As previously mentioned, product liability cases can be difficult, lengthy, and expensive to litigate successfully. In order for a claim to be successful, the injured plaintiff must show that:
Proving that the product was defective requires a thorough investigation, strong evidence, and often subject matter experts. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently stated in Tincher v. Omega Flex, Inc., 628 Pa. 296 (2014) that, in product liability cases, the injured person must prove either the consumer expectations standard or the risk-utility standard.
Consumer Expectations Standard – The consumer expectations standard asks whether a product is more dangerous that a reasonable consumer would expect under normal use.
Risk-Utility Standard – The risk-utility standard asks whether the risk or danger associated with the use of the product outweighs the burden or costs of taking precautions against.
Understanding when each standard applies and how to build a case to prove it is difficult. Therefore, it is vital that anyone injured by a defective product seek the counsel of product liability attorneys with a demonstrated record of success in handling these types of cases.
Virtually any consumer good or product can become part of a product liability lawsuit in Pennsylvania if it contains a defect that makes it unreasonably dangerous for consumers to use. The Consumer Product Safety Commission keeps track of products that have been recalled due to defects. This means they have been taken off the shelves due to consumer complaints or a perceived threat to the public.
Items that are often involved in product liability cases include:
These defective products can cause serious to catastrophic injuries when used by unsuspecting customers. Dangerous products may be missing pieces, such as a fan without a machine guard. They may also be made with the wrong materials, such as clothes that are not flame-retardant. If a manufacturer violates any safety laws or regulations when designing or creating a product, it could be held liable for related consumer injuries, illnesses or deaths with a product liability lawsuit.
In general, nothing is exempt from Pennsylvania’s product liability laws. In an effort to protect consumers and the general public, the law typically does not limit a victim’s right to hold someone responsible for injuries caused by a defective or dangerous product. However, some industries employ special protections for manufacturers – particularly, the medical device industry.
For example, 42 U.S. Code Section 300aa-22 states that no manufacturer shall be liable for injuries or death arising from a vaccine as of October 1, 1988, if the damage resulted from an unavoidable side effect despite the vaccine being properly prepared and accompanied by clear directions and warnings. Clear directions mean that the manufacturer provided all materials necessary to protect patients from known injury risks and hazards.
An attorney in Philadelphia can explain all of the laws and exceptions that might apply to your particular product liability claim.
If you get injured by a product that you believe contains a defect, it is important to keep the item and all of the packaging that came with it. The product must be carefully assessed to search for signs of a defect and fault for a victim’s injuries. As stated above, there are three main types of defects:
The manufacturer or distributor of a product that contains one of the three types of defects can be held strictly liable for a consumer’s related injury, in most cases. Strict liability means the consumer does not need to prove that the manufacturing company was negligent to be eligible for financial compensation. It is sufficient to prove that the item contained one of these defects and caused the injury in question.
You may be eligible for both economic and noneconomic damages (compensation) from a manufacturing company during an injury claim. The types of compensation that may be available to you as a victim of a defective product include:
The value of each case is unique, as values are calculated based on a victim’s specific losses and experiences. An attorney can pursue maximum financial compensation using aggressive negotiation techniques.
Generally, the statute of limitations in Pennsylvania is two years from the date of the injury, although the deadline can be longer depending on the age of the injured party and the nature of the claim. If a claim is not filed within this time frame, you generally will be permanently barred from doing so. However, in very limited circumstances, there are certain situations that may lengthen the statutory window considerably. In product liability cases particularly, one such example is fraudulent concealment. If a manufacturer, retailer or distributor intentionally fails to disclose the existence of a defect, the clock on the statute of limitations may not begin (or toll) until a reasonable person would know that the defect existed.
The majority of product liability lawsuits name the manufacturer of the defective product as the liable party, or the party that is responsible for the victim’s losses. Under Pennsylvania’s strict liability law, a manufacturer can be held liable for a product that contains one of the three main types of defects and causes a consumer injury even without proof of negligence. Other potentially liable parties include:
If the strict liability law does not apply, you may be entitled to compensation by proving negligence or a breach of warranty. Negligence is a violation of the duty of care that was owed to you by the defendant, such as the duty to ensure the reasonable safety of a product. A breach of warranty means that a manufacturer fell short of its safety guarantees or promises.
If a company issued an implied or express warranty with a product, for example, it can be held liable if it does not uphold its promise and a consumer is injured as a result. An attorney from Youman & Caputo can help you understand your rights and pursue compensation through the proper channel based on the type of product defect involved in your claim.
Even in cases where a product causes an injury, people often will not know whether a legal defect existed. In most cases, the only way to know if you potentially have a case is to speak with a catastrophic injury attorney in Philadelphia. There are many situations where the product manufacturer, distributor or retailer will argue that a product injury has not been caused by a legal defect, such as:
At Youman & Caputo, our Philadelphia product liability attorneys understand the law and issues involved in product injury cases and have significant experience handling them. If you suffered a serious injury as a result of the use of a product, it may be in your best interests to seek legal counsel. Call us today for a free and confidential case evaluation.
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