Experienced Philadelphia Products Liability Lawyers
Helping Consumers Understand Strict Liability
From auto part recalls to dangerous household electronics to food that makes you sick, manufacturers and sellers are responsible for ensuring the products you use and consume are safe. In the United States, legal protections exist to protect consumers from dangerous or defective products. These laws are intended to hold manufacturers or sellers responsible when a product injures or harms an individual.
Any product that is created for, marketed, and sold to the general public is expected to meet ordinary expectations of the consumer when used in a reasonable manner. Individuals who are injured when a product fails to meet these general expectations of use can hold manufacturers and sellers responsible under products liability law.
Products liability laws vary by state, but are based on the legal theories of negligence, breach of warranty, and strict liability.
Under products liability law, products can be defective in three ways:
- Design: An inherent flaw in the product’s design that exists even before the product is manufactured
- Manufacturing: These defects occur during the assembly or manufacturing process despite safe and sound product design
- Marketing: Problems with the way the product is labeled or marketed, or unacceptable risk to the consumer created by poor or insufficient warnings or instructions
The Philadelphia products liability lawyers at McCann & Wall, LLC are experienced in working with many types of products liability claims. They will work to ensure you receive any due compensation for injuries or illness you experience from defective and dangerous products.
Unlike other types of personal injury claims where an injured person must prove another party’s careless behavior or negligence led to their injuries, product liability cases are generally held to a doctrine called “strict liability.”
Because it can be difficult to establish at which point along the distribution chain a manufacturer erred in creating a defective product, plaintiffs can pursue compensation from a product manufacturer without proving their negligence. In strict liability cases, the defendant’s behavior is essentially irrelevant. Plaintiffs can sue manufacturers, distributors, and retailers for strict liability.
Fault and Strict Liability
While injured consumers are not required to establish a product manufacturer’s carelessness, they do need to prove three conditions exist in order to meet strict liability standards:
- The product was in some way “unreasonably dangerous,” based on a defect that developed at some point during the design, manufacturing, or shipping processes.
- The product was used as intended and not “substantially” changed from the way it was originally sold.
- Despite the product being used as intended, it caused injuries to the consumer.
Product Liability Defense
While the principle of strict liability does require the plaintiff to prove less than other types of negligence claims, it does not guarantee automatic liability. There are a few ways these claims can be successfully defended.
In some cases, the consumer’s use of a product they knew to be dangerous or defective is the cause of their injuries. Manufacturers can argue that because the consumer was aware of how the product could be dangerous, but used it anyway, they are not responsible for the injuries occurring as a result. The is called the “assumption of risk.” If this can be proven, the plaintiff may lose their right to receive damages.
Manufacturers and sellers may also argue the plaintiff either altered the product in a way that made it dangerous, or used a product recklessly, and not according to instructions or safety guidelines.
Plaintiffs must show they used the product reasonably, as the manufacturer intended, to successfully prove a strict liability claim.
Philadelphia Products Liability Lawyers at McCann & Wall, LLC Represent Clients Who Have Been Hurt by Defective Products
Consumers injured by defective and dangerous products are often intimidated by the prospect of going up against large corporations and retailers. The Philadelphia products liability lawyers at McCann & Wall, LLC are ready to advocate for you and aggressively pursue the compensation you deserve for the injuries you sustained while using a product you assumed to be safe.
To discuss your situation and how you came to be injured, call 215-569-8488 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation. We represent clients throughout Pennsylvania, including Philadelphia, Chester County and Delaware County, as well as across New Jersey and Delaware.