If you or a loved one has suffered harm or injuries due to a product that you purchased, you may be eligible for compensation through a defective product suit. Defective product injuries happen on a fairly regular basis. Incidents involving defective auto parts or tires, children’s toys, dangerous manufacturing equipment, flammable fabrics and dangerous pharmaceutical drugs have all received prominent news coverage recently. Make sure that your rights as a consumer are fairly and aggressively represented by a law firm with years of experience. Call Rappaport, Glass, Levine and Zullo, LLP for a free legal consultation today.
Defective Products Law in the News
2006 has been a year of large scale recalls. Manufacturing and agricultural errors have caused products to be placed on the market that were literally putting lives at risk.
- Sony Laptop Batteries: Sony said last week that about 9.6 million lithium-ion batteries, manufactured between August 2003 through February this year, are being recalled worldwide after reports of some computers using the Sony battery packs overheating and bursting into flames.
- Tainted Spinach: Federal food safety agents recalled bagged spinach traced to a batch processed at the San Juan Bautista plant of Natural Selection Foods LLC, which packages spinach under 34 brand names including Dole, the brand eaten by many of the sickened people. Test results found the same strain of the deadly E. coli bacteria in cow manure at a cattle ranch near a Salinas Valley spinach farm earlier this month, but it's still unclear how the pathogen traveled to the plants.
- Acetaminophen Recall: The recall affects 11 million bottles containing varying quantities of 500-milligram acetaminophen caplets made by the Perrigo Co. The pills were sold under store brands by Wal-Mart, CVS, Safeway and more than 120 other major retailers, the Food and Drug Administration said. At least two chains -- CVS Corp. and SuperValu Inc. -- started pulling the pills from store shelves.
Attorneys for New York City, Long Island and the Greater New York area
As a personal injury law firm, the Manhattan and Long Island injury lawyers at Rappaport, Glass, Levine & Zullo, LLP have always been a strong proponent of product safety and consumer protection against harmful and dangerous products. Over the years, we’ve represented cases involving injuries or wrongful death caused by defectively designed and manufactured automobiles, unreasonably dangerous manufacturing equipment, unguarded machinery, dangerous farming and yard equipment, unsafe toys and flammable fabrics that cause burn injuries and scarring.
Our firm's successful resolution of these claims begins with a thorough investigation and pre-trial preparation. We consult many sources of information to learn about the product, and have access to computer databases, which reference product standards, recalls and similar lawsuits throughout the United States. We meet with experts to determine if the product could have been designed or manufactured to avoid injury to innocent consumers.
As a successful and well established firm, we have the resources to litigate against major manufacturers and invest the time and money it takes to obtain justice for product liability victims. We have won or settled lawsuits for our clients against companies such as General Motors, Ford, Toyota, Jeep, Union Underwear and Corning, to name just a few.
Information about Product Liability Law
In New York, thousands of injuries are caused each year by dangerous and/or defective products. Typically, these injuries fall under the category of product liability law. Manufacturers or sellers who place a dangerous product in the marketplace can be held liable. All of those within the supply chain can be held responsible for a dangerous product. The manufacturer of the product; the supplier of component parts; the wholesaler, and the retail store that sold the product can all be held responsible for dangerous products.
There are several types of defective products. They can include, but are not limited to the following:
- Defective designs: Defective designs are flaws in the design of a product that make it dangerous. Design defects occur when the engineering or design process used by a company to design a product is faulty, resulting in a product that is unnecessarily dangerous. With a design defect, all of the items that come off a company's assembly line have the same defect.
- Manufactured improperly: When a product is manufactured improperly, it is not manufactured as designed. There may be nothing wrong with the overall design of the product; it may have become flawed during assembly. Products that were manufactured improperly are normally much easier to prove, because the manufacturer’s own designs can be used to show that the product is defective.
- Marketing defects: Marketing defects take place when a product is improperly labeled, comes with unclear or incomplete instructions, and/or does not warn consumers about a product’s hidden danger.
If you have been injured by a defective or dangerous product, you may have an easier time recovering compensation for your injuries than those who are injured in other ways. This is because special rules and theories of recovery have been developed in the area of product liability law. A person may recover against a manufacturer or seller based on one or more of the following theories: strict liability, negligence, and breach of warranty. Strict liability is the most common type of claim filed.
In most other types of personal injury law, to hold someone liable for your injuries, you must show that they were negligent, and that their negligence caused your injuries. However, it would be too costly and difficult for a private citizen to show how and where a manufacturer was negligent in manufacturing a particular product. Consumers are not expected to check every product that they purchase or rent to determine whether the product is defective and/or dangerous.
Strict product liability refers to one of the theories under which a plaintiff can proceed when bringing an action based upon an injury caused by a product. In a strict product liability action, a plaintiff can recover damages without actually showing that the manufacturer or seller of a product was negligent. Strict liability operates against a non-manufacturer who sold or rented a product only if it is in the business of regularly selling or renting those particular kinds of products. Strict liability would not apply to a product purchased from a friend, at a garage sale, or from anyone who is not in the business of selling said product.
While you do not have to prove a manufacturer’s culpability, in order to make a strict liability claim you must be able to prove that the product was defective and/or dangerous. You must be able to prove that the product injured you and that you (or someone else) did not substantially alter the condition of the product. Finally, you must prove that you were using the product as it was designed to be used.
If you are injured by a defective product, it is important to gather as much information as soon as possible. Record what happened, get the names and phone numbers of any witnesses, and anything else you feel should be recorded. Recording as much information as possible is incredibly helpful to you and your attorney during the claims process.
Web Resources for Defective Products:
- Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry
- Consumer Product Safety Commission
- Food & Drug Administration
- National Toxicology Program
- Product Recall
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