If you stop and think about your daily routine, you likely come into contact with hundreds of products each day, whether it’s a shower head, a toothbrush, makeup or aftershave, your vehicle, home decor, a television, fitness equipment, or something else. Manufacturers in the United States have the legal and moral responsibility to ensure all products that they bring to market are safe for public use or consumption. Even when companies go through rigorous quality control and testing, they still might introduce a dangerous product to the public, which can cause property damage, physical harm, and can sometimes be fatal.
If you, your child, or another loved one has suffered harm because of a defective product, Pennsylvania law entitles you to seek compensation for damages in civil court. Product liability lawsuits often involve the manufacturer and at least one or two other parties, making them highly complex and requiring the representation of a qualified attorney who really understands product liability law. The experienced legal team at the Levin Firm is here to help you with your product liability claim. If you live in the Greater Philadelphia area, contact us at (215) 825-5183 for a free consultation, to discuss the details of your injury, and to determine the best course of action for your case.
The qualified personal injury attorneys at the Levin Firm have extensive experience advocating for clients who have suffered injury as a result of another party’s intentional harm or negligence, including those who have been injured by a defective product. Their continued commitment to professional excellence and client service has resulted in the recovery of millions of dollars in damages for their clients. Each injury and situation has characteristics that can detract from or add to the value of a claim, so it’s impossible to guarantee an outcome for any one case. You can, however, rest easily knowing that the legal team at the Levin Firm is on your side and will aggressively pursue the best outcome given your specific circumstances.
You probably realize that a defective product is a product that doesn’t work, but from a legal standpoint, a consumer product can have three types of defects: design defects, manufacturing defects, and marketing/information defects. Below we explain each in-depth:
A design defect occurs during the conceptual and design stage of a new product. From a legal standpoint, products with defective designs are unreasonably dangerous to consumers. Pennsylvania courts use two different standards to asses whether a product has a defective design.
A manufacturing defect occurs when a new product is built or assembled. Generally, the design of the product was safe, but the execution of the design created a defect. This means the product is dangerous because its actual performance is less safe than intended. Manufacturing defects can occur because of poor materials or parts, errors in construction, assembly, or shipping, malfunctioning machinery, and many other types of errors that occur before the product is distributed or sold.
Product manufacturers are required to provide instructions to consumers for all products and warn consumers of any hazardous features. Depending on the specific consumer product, failure to include instructions, improper labeling, or inadequate warnings might be considered a marketing or information defect.
The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) collects, records, and maintains data about defective products and related injuries. With millions of products available for purchase, the CPSC stays busy. Examples of the types of products the CPSC gathers data on include toxic chemicals, lighters, furniture, appliances, electronics, construction tools, kitchen items, sports and recreation products, children’s products, and toys. Depending on the exact product and circumstances, those who have been harmed might suffer a wide array of injuries from a defective product. According to the CPSC, defective products can lead to the following injuries:
In most product liability cases, the plaintiff will name the manufacturer of the defective product as the defendant in a product liability lawsuit. Yet, other parties might also be wholly liable or share liability. Parties you might consider listing in your claim include:
Product liability claims typically involve one or more of the previously listed parties, making it difficult to determine fault in some cases. Pennsylvania does employ strict liability in manufacturing defect cases, which means that the court will automatically hold a company liable for its defective product, and your attorney only has to show that the product led to your injuries. If you or a loved one has suffered harm as a result of a defective product, you should retain qualified legal counsel to investigate your accident, determine liability, and build a strong case against those who caused you harm.
Pennsylvania law permits you to sue liable parties for damages related to your injuries when a defective product causes you harm. Pennsylvania courts award compensatory and punitive damages when they rule in favor of a plaintiff in a product liability lawsuit. Courts reserve punitive damages for rare and extreme cases of gross negligence or fraud to conceal a defect. Compensatory damages intend to help ease the financial burden that injured individuals face in the wake of a defective product injury. Damages you may receive if the court rules in your favor or you reach a reasonable settlement include:
Regardless of how obvious you believe it is that the other party in your accident caused the accident, that party might disagree. Even if the other party knows that he or she caused the accident, that party will likely attempt to defend himself or herself in order to avoid having to pay your damages. No one wants to pay for another individual’s injuries, and following an accident, at-fault parties may even convince themselves that they didn’t cause the accident.
The most common defensive strategy employed by defendants is to attempt to shift the blame to the injured plaintiff as a way to avoid some or all financial responsibility. Some of the most common strategies that defendants employ include:
An experienced product liability attorney understands these defensive strategies and will know how to combat them. It’s important that you retain an experienced products liability attorney for your case so that you don’t fall victim to these defensive strategies, which can result in significantly lower compensation for you.
If you or a loved one has suffered harm because of a defective product, you have a limited time to bring a lawsuit against the party or parties who might be liable. In the event that the liable parties committed fraud to try to cover up the defect, your statute of limitations time clock does not begin until you discover the injury, or until you should have reasonably discovered your injury in the eyes of the court. This won’t apply to every product liability case, but it can be relevant for chemical exposure or other injuries that you might not immediately notice.
In the unfortunate event that a defective product caused a fatal injury to your child or spouse, you might be eligible to seek compensation in a wrongful death suit, as long as you take legal action within the two-year statute of limitations window for Pennsylvania wrongful death claims. You should speak with an attorney regarding your eligibility to file a wrongful death claim.
When negligent and careless manufacturers put defective products on the market, individuals and families can suffer devastation if a severe injury occurs. In addition to the physical pain of injury and recovery, the aftermath of an injury adds financial burden and emotional stress to victims and their families. Medical bills are likely piling up, and at the same time, a victim may be unable to work because of his or her injury.
Companies who make, promote, and sell defective products must be held accountable for their negligence, so that you receive compensation for your injuries and so that future consumers don’t have to go through the same pain and anguish as you. At the Levin Firm, we understand the challenging times that lie ahead for you, and we are here to help. We can handle the details of your case, investigate your injury, communicate with insurance companies, and fight your case in court if settlement isn’t an option.
If you live in the Greater Philadelphia area, you can reach the Levin Firm by calling (215) 825-5183, or contact us online, to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced product liability lawyers. During your consultation, we will evaluate your case and determine what is your best path forward following your accident. If you choose the Levin Firm to represent you in your product liability lawsuit, we handle product liability cases on a contingency fee basis, collecting our attorney fees from any compensation that we secure for you in the form of an insurance settlement or verdict in your favor. Thus, you aren’t on the hook for any up-front, out-of-pocket expenses.
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