Top Rated NJ Unsafe Product Law Firm
Injuries, deaths, and property damage from consumer product incidents cost more than $1 trillion every year, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. And unfortunately, many product-related injuries are the result of cost-cutting at the manufacturing level.
Unsafe products fall under product liability law, which refers to the manufacturer, distributor, or seller being held liable for putting a defective product on the market. The supply chain for a particular product can be complex, and it can open liability up to the product manufacturer, a manufacturer of component parts, the wholesaler, and the retail store that sold the unsafe product.
Unsafe products have a variety of causes and a wide range of potential injuries. If a consumer buys a new car and the brakes give out on the first day, there is most likely a defective car part in play. If someone purchases an above-ground pool and suffers a neck injury from diving in, the manufacturer could be liable if there were no warning signs affixed to the pool instructing consumers not to dive.
Generally, a product must meet the ordinary expectations of a reasonable consumer. That being said, when any product has an unexpected defect or danger, it has failed to meet the ordinary expectations of a consumer. When that unexpected defect or danger leads to injury, you could have grounds for a product liability lawsuit.
Some products, however, are unavoidably unsafe. For example, a manufacturer of sharp kitchen knives could not be expected to make them dull for safety’s sake. In these cases, a product must be adequately labeled and come with safety instructions to help the consumer avoid injury.
Design and manufacturing defects can make even everyday items dangerous and sometimes deadly.
What Are the Different Types of Unsafe Products?
In a product liability case, a plaintiff must prove that the product in question was defective and that the defect made the product unreasonably dangerous. There are three generally recognized types of defects that can open a manufacturer or supplier up to liability:
Design defects are flaws in the intentional design of a product. In order to prove the product was designed defectively, the plaintiff must be able to show that the product is inherently flawed; therefore, even if the consumer used the product as instructed, it would still be dangerous. Claiming a design defect sometimes requires that the plaintiff show negligence in the defective design, but in other cases, a manufacturer can be held liable if the plaintiff can show there was a safe, cost-effective alternative.
Manufacturing defects occur when a product does not meet the designer’s or manufacturer’s specifications for the product. In these cases, a manufacturer failed to properly assemble the product according to the design, resulting in an unsafe final product. These types of unsafe product claims are often the easiest to prove, as the manufacturer’s internal design standards can show that the product was defective.
When dealing with manufacturing defects, there are two legal principles in play. Res ipsa loquitor—meaning “the thing speaks for itself” in Latin—means that the defect would not exist unless someone in the manufacturing process had been negligent. In cases when this principle applies, the plaintiff is not required to prove the defendant was negligent. Instead, the defendant must prove it was not negligent.
In other manufacturing defect cases, strict liability helps plaintiffs collect damages. In these cases, the plaintiff must only prove that the product was defective (and is not required to prove that the manufacturer was negligent).
Marketing defects, otherwise known as failure to provide adequate warnings or instructions, occur when a product is improperly labeled. If the product does not come with sufficient instructions or it fails to warn consumers of hidden hazards, the company could be found liable for injuries. In addition, intentional misrepresentation of a product can qualify for product liability in certain cases.
Who Looks Out For Product Safety?
is an independent regulatory agency in charge of protecting consumers from unreasonable risks of injury or death related to unsafe products. It has jurisdiction over more than 15,000 different products, and it works to identify and monitor hazards, improve safety standards around the country, enforce compliance with existing safety standards, and inform the public about safety concerns, product recalls, and emerging hazards.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission has compiled many years’ worth of statistics on product-related injuries, including kitchen and dining products, sports and recreation equipment, toys and children’s products, lighters and fireworks, furniture and decor, and home appliances.
The Consumer Product Safety Act, which established the Consumer Product Safety Commission in 1972, excludes certain types of products from the commission’s jurisdiction; food, drugs, tobacco, medical devices, cosmetics, motor vehicles, aircraft, pesticides, boats, and firearms all have specific federal agencies to govern them.
When Should You File Suit?
The statute of limitations for bringing a case against a manufacturer or seller is two years; that is, you must file suit within two years of discovering (or when you reasonably should have discovered) the product issue. If you have not brought a claim within two years, you could lose your right to compensation for your injuries.
If you have been injured by a defective product, it’s important to contact a lawyer as soon as possible. Building an unsafe product case can include obtaining engineering reports, developing models or graphics of the product, filming a product to show how it functions, and taking detailed statements from witnesses or government representatives; with such a large and complex case, it is important to give your attorney plenty of time to build a case.
Contact a New Jersey Unsafe Products Attorney
Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi have more than 80 years of cumulative experience in trial law. They will work tirelessly to make sure the manufacturer or seller is held accountable for putting unsafe products on the market, and they will work to recover your losses. Contact Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi at (201) 585-9111 or fill out the Quick Inquiry form to start on the road to recovery. Your initial consultation is free and confidential, and no fees are due until they win your case.