PRODUCT LIABILITY LAW PENNSYLVANIA
Product manufacturers have a duty to design, manufacture and test their products for consumer safety. If a person is injured by a defective product and they were not forwarned regarding the defect, then they have the right to seek compensation from any party in the production chain. Any party in the in the "chain" can be held liable for the defect in the product and the injuries it caused. Liability depends upon the specifics of the defect, the flaw in the product that causes it to be unreasonably dangerous to the consumer. Examples of defects and the liability assessed is as follows:
- Design Defect - If the product is defective because the design is inherently flawed the designer can be held liable.
- Manufacturing Defect - If the product is defective because it was poorly produced or substandard materials were used, then the manufacturer can be held liable.
- Failure to Warn – If the product is reasonably safe when accompanied with appropriate warnings, and absent the warnings the product is unreasonably dangerous, then the product is defective if the appropriate warnings are omitted.
Simply getting injured by a product is insufficient cause to bring a lawsuit against the manufacturer. A consumer must prove that a product was unreasonably dangerous in order to prove it was defective, and that the defect was the cause of their injury. In product liability cases the product designer, manufacturer, or seller are generally regarded as the negligent party, and are therefore open to legal action.
The consumer bringing suit for product liability cases attempting to prove negligence on the part of the defendant must prove that the defendant, in the course of making its product, had a duty to guard against injuries likely to result from reasonably foreseeable misuse of the product; that the defendant breached its duty; the consumer was injured by the product; and that the defendants breach of duty caused the injury.
The consumer bringing suit for product liability cases attempting to prove strict liability on the part of the defendant must prove that the product was sold and distributed by the defendant; that the product was unreasonably dangerous, and was so at the time it left the defendant’s control; and that it was the unreasonably dangerous condition of the product that caused the consumers injury.
The consumer bringing suit for product liability cases attempting to prove breach of warranty on the part of the defendant must prove that there was an implied warranty that the product is safe for its intended use; that a defective product that causes injury is not safe for its intended use; and that the defendant therefore breached their warranty.
A products liability lawsuit is the best and sole remedy available to consumers injured by defective products. Additionally a products liability lawsuit, provided incentive to manufacturers to produce safe products.
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Michael N. Kotik, Esq. (PA, NJ)