Thousands of injuries are caused each year by defective consumer goods. All sorts of things we buy can have defects. The product liability case against Monsanto alleging undisclosed cancer-causing chemicals to have been present in the company’s famous weedkiller, Roundup. Many hundreds of other products are sold that can cause serious injury and even death.
Our personal injury attorneys have extensive experience handling product liability cases. The Law Offices of Joel J. Kofsky will prove that your injury was caused by a defective product. We know the unique laws that apply to injuries caused by consumer goods that are defective.
When is a Company Liable for Injuries?
At least six agencies in the United States provide some level of consumer safety protections to prevent companies from selling products that can cause injuries without adequate warning to consumers. In most cases, proving a product liability case with an existing warning about the hazard is nearly impossible.
Unfortunately, many products on the market today do not have warning labels when they may, in fact, need them. The worst cases are those that involve deliberate intent on the part of a company to prevent the public from knowing the hazard they face. Most cases, though, are not intentional. But, even a product that is unintentionally defective and causes injury means the manufacturer can be held liable for damages.
In personal injury law, defective product claims do not need to prove intent or negligence on the part of the manufacturer. Companies are held to a standard of “strict liability” in regard to consumer products.
Pennsylvania has some of the most rigorous consumer protections in the nation. Recent Supreme Court decisions have strengthened plaintiffs cases. Even with these safeguards, companies will often fight to avoid taking responsibility.
In order to prove a valid claim, it is necessary to prove that:
- The product was defective
- You were using the product as intended
- You were injured
- The defective product caused your injuries
Some defective products are obvious, while others are more difficult to prove. The Law Offices of Joel J. Kofsky can help you and your family if you have been injured by a defective product.
Types of Defective Products
There are four types of product defect cases. The laws in Pennsylvania treat each aspect in a particular way. It is important to have excellent representation when arguing a product liability case. The Law Offices of Joel J. Kofsky have decades of experience standing up for Pennsylvania consumers. These cases tend to become complex. Claims that go to trial will require expert testimony, and company lawyers will fight to discredit your claims to avoid taking responsibility for your injuries.
Defective Design Claims
Defective design claims arise when a product is manufactured in such a way as to present an unreasonable risk of harm. This can include things like children’s toys that have sharp edges or small, loose parts. It can also include things like agricultural equipment that does not have proper guards to prevent injury.
Proving a defective design claim requires that you demonstrate that the manufacturer made the product in such a way that it is unsafe for its intended use. Manufacturers are required to consider the dangers of the product not only for its intended use, but also misuse.
Manufacturing Defect Claims
Products that fail because of the materials or workmanship are defective. When a manufacturing defect causes an injury, the company that made the item is held responsible. Manufacturing defects can involve one erroneous unit, or they can encompass dozens of products built on the same line.
In order to prove a manufacturing defect claim, it is necessary to demonstrate how a product differs from the intended design. Food poisoning cases often fall within a manufacturing defect, as do defective automobile components.
A malfunction claim comes when a product fails due to a defect that is neither design or manufacturing related. Recently, a high number of malfunction claims concerning rechargeable vape pens have highlighted this particular aspect.
The key to malfunction claims is that circumstantial evidence is admissible. For example, if a vape pen caught on fire in a person’s pocket and burned them, it is apparent that the pen malfunctioned. It does not need to be proven.
Warning Defect Claims
Consumers can’t make smart choices about products without knowing the risks and limitations. Warning labels help to let buyers know that a product may be unsafe, particularly when used improperly. When a product does not carry a warning about a hazard that should have been identified, the company that made the product can be held liable for injuries. Warning labels must also adequately warn or instruct the user to prevent accidental injury. Manufacturers that know of a danger and do not warn about it, they may also be held liable.
Two major cases in recent years involving Monsanto and Johnson & Johnson have shown the prevalence of warning label ire by manufacturers. In both cases, warning labels may have impacted sales of the product, but would have advised consumers of a possible risk of exposure to cancer-causing ingredients.
Why Do I Need an Expert Witness for a Defective Product?
An expert witness is someone that is hired to provide testimony in court or through deposition to attest to the defects of a product. An expert witness uses their knowledge of a subject to demonstrate to the court how the product is defective. An expert witness will be able to speak about industry standards and norms, display product blueprints or plans and reliably discuss them, and can explain highly technical and complex situations to describe how a product is defective.
An expert witness provides direct evidence of a defect to a court. This evidence describes how the intended product is defective in the case. A good expert witness can confirm exactly how a product is defective convincingly.
Lawyers representing the product manufacturer often target the testimony of expert witnesses. If the defense is able to convince the court that the expert witness is not credible or is relying on evidence that is not credible, that testimony can be removed or reduced from consideration. A successful defense attorney will win his case by proving that something other than the product being defective could have happened.
How we Can Help
The Law Offices of Joel J. Kofsky have extensive relationships with the top experts in Philadelphia. We put together teams of experts and provide the overwhelming proof of a defective product. Our injury lawyers will see to it that you have the medical care and financial help you will need to recover from your injury. It is our mission to make sure that defective products are not allowed on the market. We fight on your behalf so that no one else has to be hurt, injured, or killed by a defective product.
Our risk-free consultation will give you an opportunity to share your case with our product liability lawyers. We will discuss with you what the best option moving forward will be, and show you how we will win your case.