A product liability lawyer recognizes the responsibility of the manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors and vendors for damages caused by dangerous or defective products. Responsibility for a defect that causes injury lies with the product’s entire distribution chain, including the manufacturer, maker of component parts, wholesaler and the retail store.
Douglas & London has years of experience dealing with products liability cases, from air bags and table saws to fences and cigarettes, in New York, NY, and nationwide. Our focus in these types of cases is three-fold:
- To help protect consumers from dangerous products
- To hold manufacturers, distributors and retailers responsible for putting into the marketplace products that they knew or should have known were dangerous or defective
- To assist our clients in achieving compensation for injuries that were of no fault of their own
Understanding Product Liability
In the United States, the claims most commonly associated with product liability are negligence, strict liability, breach of warranty and consumer protection plans. Most product liability laws are determined at the state level and vary widely from state to state.
Negligence: A basic negligence claim consists of proof of: (1) a duty owed, (2) a breach of that duty, (3) an injury and (4) that the breach proximately caused the plaintiff’s injury.
Strict Liability: Strict liability claims focus on the product itself rather than the behavior of the manufacturer (as in negligence). The manufacturer is liable if the product is defective, even if the manufacturer was not negligent in making that product defective. Common examples of strict liability include:
Design defect – faulty product design poses a threat and causes an injury
Failure to warn/marketing defect – product does not have proper warning labels or clear instructions informing consumers of safety hazards, which results in physical injuries
Manufacturing defect – defect in the product occurring during manufacturing results in serious physical injuries
Breach of Warranty: Breach of warranty-based product liability claims usually focus on one of three types: (1) breach of an express warranty, (2) breach of an implied warranty of merchantability or (3) breach of an implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose.
Consumer Protection: Many states have enacted consumer protection statutes for defects which merely render the product unusable, causing economic loss, but not physical injury or damage to other property.