Clarion County product liability attorneys know that product liability law is complicated, especially in Pennsylvania where recent court decisions have left some areas of product liability law questionable and undefined. This is why it is especially important to find an experienced and knowledgeable product liability attorney to represent your claim if you have been injured by a defective product. Consumer products should be safe and free from dangerous defects and when defective products cause consumer injuries, liable parties should be held accountable.
Three types of product defects
When it comes to product liability cases, plaintiffs typically allege that the product was defective in one of the three following ways:
- Design defect – There was a defect in the design of the product that caused the injuries suffered by the plaintiff. Proving design defects can be complicated and both the defendants and plaintiffs typically have expert testimony as to whether or not the design was defective and if that defect caused the plaintiff’s injuries. Plaintiffs will often argue that the product is defective because it does not perform as safely as an ordinary consumer would expect it to perform. Defendants may argue that the benefit of the product outweighs the risk of injury and that there is no feasible design alternative to make the product safer.
- Manufacturing defect – When a product liability claim is based on a manufacturing defect, plaintiffs will allege that there was a mistake made during manufacturing in which the construction of the product departed from the intended design of the product. In order to prove a manufacturing defect claim, plaintiffs need to show that the product contained a manufacturing defect, the defect existed when it left the defendant’s possession, and that the defect caused the plaintiff’s injuries.
- Failure to warn or properly instruct – If a product poses a risk of danger, the product should come with proper warnings that alert the consumer of the risk of injury. Potentially dangerous products should also come with instructions for proper use to avoid injury.
Common product liability defenses
In product liability cases, defendants will frequently raise one or several of the following defenses:
- The product was not unreasonably dangerous and there was no feasible alternative for a safer product.
- The product was inherently dangerous and the plaintiff assumed the risk of injury. For example, if a plaintiff was injured by fireworks or a shotgun that he or she was using, the defendant would argue that the plaintiff knew of and accepted the dangers presented by these products.
- The plaintiff altered or modified the product and those alterations or modifications were the actual cause of the injuries rather than a defect in the product.
- The plaintiff did not use the product in the intended manner or in a reasonably foreseeable manner.