The law of products liability protects you when you are injured due to the defective nature of the design, manufacture, assembly or construction of a product. Products liability law protects you, from products that are defective or dangerous, ensuring that you are adequately compensated when unjustly injured. Manufacturers and store owners have a responsibility to consumers and to the public at large not to “introduce into commerce” products that are harmful to the original purchasers of the product or to others exposed to the product. . They must not sell products that are defective or inherently dangerous. If a dangerous or defective product injures a customer, any one entity, or combination of entities, responsible for providing the product to a customer may be liable for resulting injuries. This could include the designer of the product, the manufacturer of the product, the manufacturer of a defective component of the product, a distributor of the product, or the end-seller of the product. As long as the product was used in the manner in which it was meant to be used at the time of injury, and the defective, or inherently dangerous product caused a person’s injury, that person may be entitled to just compensation.
A person injured due to a defective product may seek compensation for: medical expenses, physical pain and suffering, mental anguish, disfigurement, physical impairment, loss of earning capacity, property damage, and punitive damages. A person killed by a defective product may seek compensation for wrongful death. (It is important to note that the statue of limitations for wrongful death is just two years in New York from the date of appointment of personal representative of an Estate, rather than the three years generally available where the defective product inflicts injury but does not result in death.)
A person can also bring a products liability suit against a manufacturer for incorrect product labeling. Marketing defects include improper labeling of products, insufficient instructions, or the failure to warn consumers of a product’s hidden dangers. A negligent or intentional misrepresentation regarding a product may also give rise to a product liability claim. Warnings must be conspicuous and effectively communicate the hazard associated with improper uses.
Product liability lawsuits generally involve several legal theories including negligence, strict liability, and breach of warranty. However, most courts today hold companies responsible for a defective product strictly liable to consumers and users for injuries caused by the defect, particularly where the injury was foreseeable to the manufacturer.
It is important to the function of our society that manufacturers and distributors of food products, drinks, engineered, goods, medicines, etc., are sufficiently careful in the design, production, and inspection of products they provide to consumers. If they fail in their duties to consumers, they must be held accountable under the law. Consumers who are unjustly injured should seek counsel to ensure that they not only receive the compensation they deserve, but to ensure that manufacturers and distributors remain accountable for their actions, upholding principles of safety and security in consumer expectations.
Products that have been deemed defective include automobiles, tires, electric toasters, medical devices such as screws, pacemakers, drugs, heavy machinery such as punch presses, ladders, motors, wire, specially formulated plywood, plumbing pipes, chemical additives, pharmaceuticals, insulation and other products used in specialized industries as well as consumer products.