Almost every moment of an average American’s life is spent using a product they assume is safe. Whether driving a car, standing on a ladder, using tools to fix a leaky roof, using tools and equipment at work, or sitting in a chair while watching television, you rely on the safety of the manufactured products you use.
Unfortunately, many defective products make it into the stream of commerce, and thousands of people suffer injuries as a result. Designers, manufacturers, distributors, and retailers have an obligation to assure that the products they introduce into the marketplace are safe. If you have suffered an injury because a product was defective, you could pursue damages by making a claim asserting product liability.
You owe it to yourself to consult an experienced attorney about available options. A New Brunswick products liability lawyer could advise whether you have a viable claim for product liability.
To succeed in a products liability claim, the plaintiff must show that he or she suffered actual losses because the product was defective. Usually that loss involves a physical injury, but property damage alone could be sufficient to support a product liability claim.
The plaintiff need not be the original purchaser of the product. Someone in the household, or even someone who acquired the product second or third hand, is a potential plaintiff in a product liability action as long as the product has not reached the end of its reasonable service life.
If someone has significantly altered the product, the alteration could defeat a product liability claim. Using the product in a manner for which it was not intended also could diminish the user’s odds of winning a product liability lawsuit.
New Jersey General and Permanent Statues §2A:58C-2 makes manufacturers and merchants liable if a product they made or sold is defective and the defect causes an injury to a person or property. Defects might be the result of poor design, manufacturing error, or inadequate warnings.
If a product’s design is defective, the product will be unsafe for its intended use. A plaintiff alleging a design defect must show that the product was unreasonably dangerous as designed, and the risks negated its potential usefulness. Alternatively, a plaintiff might attempt to prove that the product could have been designed in a way that lessened the risks.
When a product is usually reasonably safe when used as directed, but a particular unit or batch of the product malfunctioned, a manufacturing error is indicated. Potential causes of manufacturing errors include:
If the warnings on a product do not advise a user of the danger they encountered, or if instructions do not adequately inform a consumer how to use a product safely, a person who suffered an injury might allege a labelling defect. To prove a defective label claim, a plaintiff would need to show that a reasonable person would have provided warning or instructions that addressed the situation the plaintiff encountered.
New Jersey allows plaintiffs only two years from the date of their injury to claim damages alleging personal injuries due to product liability. If property damage is the only injury for which the plaintiff seeks compensation, the statute of limitations is six years.
In some cases, an injury might not be immediately apparent. This might happen if a product emits invisible, odorless toxic fumes that eventually cause cancer, for example. A plaintiff must bring a products liability action within two years of discovering their injury, or within two years of the date a reasonably diligent plaintiff would have discovered it if the cause was not immediately apparent.
Product liability lawsuits often involve complex information that requires the input of experts. Insurers, designers, manufacturers, and retailers have teams of lawyers and experts who deal with these complexities every day, so you definitely need counsel who can stand up to them.
Choose a New Brunswick product liability lawyer to pursue your product liability case. Call today to get started.