PRODUCTS LIABILITY. WHAT IS IT? CAN I SUE A COMPANY?

Yes. This month, I will be writing about your rights against a corporation when you buy a product and get injured by it. Products liability is the area of law in which manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, retailers, and others who make products available to the public are held responsible for the injuries those products cause. Although the word “product” has broad connotations, product liability as an area of law is traditionally limited to products in the form of tangible personal property. However, claims of defective machinery or equipment are also the basis for product liability lawsuits.

In the United States, the claims most commonly associated with product liability are negligence, strict liability, breach of warranty, and various consumer protection claims. Each type of product liability claim requires different elements to be proven to present a successful case.

There are three major types of product liability claims:

1. manufacturing defect;
2. design defect; and
3. failure to warn (also known as marketing defects).

However, sometimes, these are not legal claims in and of themselves, but are pleaded in terms of the theories mentioned above. For example, a plaintiff might allege negligent failure to warn or strict liability for defective design.

Manufacturing defects are those that occur in the manufacturing process and usually involve poor-quality materials or shoddy workmanship.

Design defects occur where the product design is inherently dangerous or useless (and hence defective) no matter how carefully manufactured; this may be demonstrated either by showing that the product fails to satisfy ordinary consumer expectations as to what constitutes a safe product, or that the risks of the product outweigh its benefits.

Failure-to-warn defects arise in products that carry inherent nonobvious dangers which could be mitigated through adequate warnings to the user, and these dangers are present regardless of how well the product is manufactured and designed for its intended purpose.

It is important you remember that you may not need to spend one penny in order to file a product liability action.  Many issues arise in product liability actions or potential actions.  Therefore, I cannot stress enough the importance of consulting with me about the facts of your case or potential case.

You should also remember that this article is not intended to provide you with legal advice; it is intended only to provide guidance about products liability law. Furthermore, the article is not intended to explain or identify all potential issues that may arise in connection with a product liability case.

If you have any questions or concerns about any legal issue, you can call me at (315) 422-5673, send me a fax at (315) 466-5673, or e-mail me at joseperez@joseperezyourlawyer.com. The Law Office of Jose Perez is located at 120 East Washington Street, Suite 925, Syracuse, New York 13202. Please look for my next article in the March edition. HAPPY 10th ANNIVERSARY TO CNY LATINO!!!  10 years and COUNTING!!!

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