Consumers who have been injured by a defective product are encouraged to speak with a New Jersey product liability lawyer. Consumers purchase goods out of wanting or need, but never with the intention of being harmed.
When a consumer has been harmed by a defective product, there is a potential for several parties to be held responsible for the defect. Rosengard Law Group NJ injury lawyers will conduct a thorough investigation to determine which party or parties are responsible for the injuries that you received.
Defective or dangerous products cover a broad range of goods. Just about anything that is purchased by a consumer for the purpose of personal use can be covered under defective product liability. This area of law also applies to defective medical equipment and devices as well as prepared foods that cause foodborne illnesses (food poisoning.
SCHEDULE A FREE CASE REVIEW. If you believe that your injuries are a direct result of a product that you purchased, including medical devices, speak with an attorney about your rights to compensation. You New Jersey defective product attorney will review the facts of your case and provide you with a detailed plan on how to recover your losses.
Three Types of New Jersey Product Liability Cases
Product liability claims are all unique to the product and injuries caused. However, these cases all fall within one of three categories.
Consumers filing a product liability case for negligence must prove that there was a duty by the manufacturer to sell a safe product. The consumer must then show that the product that was sold was not safe and created a “breach of duty” to the consumer. The consumer must also prove that the manufacturer knew or should have known that there was a problem with the product before releasing it for public use. Finally, the consumer must show that this defect has caused them to be injured.
There are many ways that a manufacturer can be held liable for negligent acts during the production of their product. The most common ways include:
- Failure to catch design flaws through lax or missing quality control reviews
- Failing to maintain equipment used to produce the product which led to flaws
- Failing to test or inspect the product correctly
- Failing to see potential uses for their products by the consumer
- Pushing the product out on the market too soon
- Not creating a warning label or accurate instruction booklet
These are not the only causes of negligence by the manufacturer. Your New Jersey defective product attorney will look at the facts of the case t determine where the negligence lies with the defective product.
Almost all product liability cases are pursued under strict liability. In a strict liability case, the consumer must only show that a product they purchased and used correctly caused them harm. The consumer does not have to show negligent actions in the manufacturing process. Strict liability only applies to goods that are purchased new. Items purchased used or second-hand are not covered under strict liability.
Breach of Warranty
There are two types of warranties that are applied to all goods that are sold.
• Express Warranty – retailer or restaurant operator that attests to the safety of the product.
• Implied Warranty – Any information given by the manufacturer or any other liable party that implies that the product, when used as intended, is safe.
A breach of these warranties is cause for a defective product lawsuit. However, this clause is usually attached to strict liability or product negligence action.
Who Can Be Held Liable For A Defective Product?
In a product liability case, the Plaintiff may be able to seek compensation from multiple sources. Any business involved in the chain of distribution – manufacturer, wholesaler, retailer – can be held responsible when a product injures a consumer.
• Manufacturer – The manufacturer of the product can include any type of company. If the product was made in a garage or by a multi-national company, the manufacturer could be held responsible for the defect. This includes the design, manufacturing, and marketing of the product.
Additionally, if the product is made up of several components and it is a single component that is malfunctioning, the supplier of that component to the manufacturer can also be held responsible as part of the liability case.
• Wholesaler – Known as the middleman in the chain of distribution, the wholesaler can also be held responsible for product liability if they are marketing or promoting an unsafe product.
• Retailer – When a retailer advertises that they are selling a product, it is implied that the product is safe for use. Because of the implied warranty, the retailer may be held liable for the injury. An injured party does not have to be the actual person that purchased the item from the retailer for use.
While building your case, your New Jersey product liability attorney will look at all potentially responsible parties.
Food Poisoning – Food Borne Illness Product Liability Cases
Foodborne illnesses or food poisoning cases have increased dramatically over the last several years. One of the reasons for this increase is because science has advanced to a point where many of these illnesses are now easily detected and traceable. In the past, a person who experienced food poisoning was often blamed for something that they did at home. These new technologies can pinpoint where the food became tainted before it reached the consumer.
The hardest part about foodborne illness cases is proving when it occurred and why. Through these new medical advances, these tests run on the patient and the product itself can now answer these questions.
If you believe that you have been subjected to food poisoning from a product that you purchased for home use, preserve any remaining food that may have caused the illness. While not required to file a case for compensation, having this evidence is always helpful.
Understanding Design, Manufacturing, and Marketing Defects
When a defective product has injured a person, they have the right to sue the manufacturer for their losses. In most cases, the lawsuit concerns design or manufacturing defects. However, the manufacturer can be held liable for the injuries if their marketing or warning labels led to the injury of the victim.
A design defect is one that is found in the original drawings and blueprints of the product. Because the flaw is in the basic design of the product, it must be found in every product manufactured.
To determine if the product liability lies with the design, your New Jersey product liability attorney must ask the following three questions:
- Was the product design unreasonably dangerous from its inception?
- Could the designer have deducted that the design could be harmful to the end user?
- Could the manufacturer have used a better design of the same product in a cost-effective manner instead of using this design?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, your attorney will seek compensation under the grounds that the product had a flawed design.
Manufacturing defects may only affect a certain portion of the goods produced. If it is determined that the product became dangerous due to a manufacturing process, the manufacturer is still held responsible under strict liability guidelines.
Additionally, if it is discovered that parts for the product that are provided by a different source are the cause of the danger, the supplier can also be held responsible for the injuries received.
Marketing defects can be sorted into three categories: Failure to Warn, Instruction Manuals and Marketing to the Public. All three of these areas are very important to the consumer. Consumers use this information to decide if they want to purchase an item, how to use the item, or if the risk associated with an item is within their comfort level.
- Failure To Warn. Any entity within the chain of distribution can be held responsible for an injury if they failed to warn the consumer of any potential risks associated with the use of the product. In most cases, this responsibility lies with the manufacturer. However, if a wholesaler or retailer omits or hides this information so that they can sell more product, they can be held responsible for the injuries the product has caused.
- Instruction Manuals. Instruction manuals offer two very important types of information. The manuals tell the consumer how to use the product safely, and these manuals contain the warning information. All of this information is relevant to the safe use of the product. Manufacturers are required to provide easy to understand/interpret warning labels on all of their products and produce clear and easy to read instructions on how to use the product.
- Marketing to the Public. How a product is marketed to the public is also very essential to how the public perceives its use. If a product is marketed in a manner that is deceptive, the manufacturer can be held liable for any resulting injuries.
When you SCHEDULE A FREE CASE REVIEW, your attorney will go over all of this information with you about the product, the use of the product and how you were injured. They will then conduct significant research to determine all parties responsible for your injuries.
Class Action Lawsuits
When a product injures many people across the country, the cases are often combined by the court system into a class action lawsuit. Members of the lawsuit all have similar injuries from the same product.
If the injuries you received from a product are similar to those in a class action lawsuit, your attorney may recommend that you join the suit. However, if your injuries are different, or if your attorney feels that your case would be better handled as an individual lawsuit, they may recommend that you decline to join the class action lawsuit.
What Kind Of Damages Can I Claim In A Product Liability Case?
When you file a product liability case, your attorney will seek two forms of compensation: general and actual losses.
Actual losses are those that the injured party has experienced financially. These include:
- Lost wages and benefits
- Future lost earnings
- Medical bills both current and future
- Medical supplies
- Transportation costs for medical care
General losses are more personal losses that directly relate to the injured party. These losses vary greatly based on the facts of the case. These losses include:
- Pain and Suffering
- Emotional distress and trauma
- Loss of consortium and companionship
- Loss of services
Your attorney will investigate your case thoroughly and determine all areas of compensation you are entitled to under the law.
Speak To A New Jersey Product Liability Attorney
Injuries received by a defective product can be very serious and potentially life-threatening. This is especially true when the injury received is also part of an accident or medical malpractice case. Defective medical products also cause significant harm since the injury victim is often required to undergo corrective surgeries and treatments to correct the injury.
These injuries often lead to extensive financial issues as medical bills pile up, and the injury victim is unable to work. It is the obligation of the responsible party to compensate the injury victim for all of these losses.