A Lawyers Explanation: Defective and Dangerous Products
Our Ocean County injury lawyers have the experience necessary to determine if your injuries were due to a defective or unsafe product. Our Monmouth County personal injury attorney will investigate your claim to reveal whether there was inadequate protection against the hazards presented by the faulty product, or, if the injuries were caused by other deficiencies in design, manufacture, distribution, and/or in the instructions and warnings provided to the consumer.
When you walk through the aisle of a grocery or department store, it is obvious that there are thousands of products which are sold to New Jersey consumers. The range of products, such as pharmaceuticals, medications, appliances, tools, vehicles, boats, motorcycles, children’s toys, and food can all cause serious harm if they are manufactured, have inadequate warnings, or are defective in design.
Motorcycle accidents happen all too frequently and, often, unfortunately, result in catastrophic injury or death. Motorcycles also have a higher fatality rate per unit of distance travelled when compared with automobiles. Per vehicle mile traveled, a motorcyclist’s risk of a fatal crash is 35 times greater than that of a passenger car.This data shows an obvious higher rate of death among motorcycle riders than passengers on other types of vehicles. All too often, these deaths are not caused by poor motorcycle riding practices, but, rather, they are caused by the negligence of those driving other vehicles on the roads.
These three categories of Products Liability Law are enumerated under New Jersey’s Product Liability Act (PLA) which provides that a product manufacturer or seller shall be liable in a product liability action if the plaintiff proves by a preponderance of the evidence that “the product causing the harm was not reasonably fit, suitable or safe for its intended purpose[.]”
The PLA defines three types of defect, each of which may render a product “not reasonably fit, suitable or safe”:
(a) a manufacturing defect;
(b) a failure to “contain adequate warnings or instructions”; and
(c) a defective design. N.J.S.A. 2A:58C-2.
As cited above a manufacturer has a duty to design a safe product. For example a pharmaceutical company should not release a product that causes heart attacks or other known adverse side effects, a toy manufacturer should not use lead paint, or a food company should not put toxic or deleterious foods on the shelves.
Where a product can’t be designed to be absolutely safe, then a manufacturer has a duty to guard or protect against that dangers presented by the product (i.e., automatic shut-off or safety guard). If a product’s dangerous susceptibility can’t be adequately guarded, the manufacturer has an obligation to provide clear instructions and warnings for its use (i.e., flammable or emits noxious chemicals, such as gasoline or kerosene).
When a product has defects in its manufacturing, warnings, or design, those defects and susceptibilities may result in foreseeable injury to the end user of the product. Products can include:
- Medical devices
- Auto defects
- Faulty automobile components
- Defective auto repairs
- Children’s toys, clothing and furniture
- Exercise equipment
- Workplace equipment
- Household Cleaner
As you can see, the heart of any product liability case is whether the product is in fact defective. A product can be defective in many ways. However, the investigation and development of a product liability case doesn’t end there. Your Monmouth County lawyer at Riviere Cresci & Singer LLC will have to further prove that the product which allegedly had deficiencies in design, manufacture, distribution, and/or in the instructions and warnings provided to the consumer, presented risks that were foreseeable to the consumer.
For example, products such as baby cribs with slats that aren’t properly spaced, and have no warnings that babies are at risk, doesn’t automatically mean there is liability on behalf of the crib maker. The improper spacing has to be a foreseeable risk to the baby.
Confused? This is not a subject matter that is easily comprehended by a layman; all the more reason to call one of our attorneys for a free consultation.