Product Defects

Defective products are prevalent in our society. In our global economy, not all products are designed and manufactured for safety.  Rather, the sad reality is that many manufacturers exchange pennies for safety in the manufacturing process, import defective products from third-word economies and incorporate defective and dangerous components to consumer products used by adults and children everyday. Most recently, news headlines highlight defective goods including defective drywall, lead in toys, defective tires, defective drugs, defective medical equipment, defective tools and defective sports equipment.

Lawsuits involving Defective Products require not only an understanding of the law of negligence, but also the law of Strict Liability Theory.  While issues of negligence center on the “reasonableness” of the manufacturer, claims under strict liability center whether the product itself was defective.  By pursuing claims under the Strict Liability Theory, the focus of the claims center upon whether the product was simply defective and, arguably, the manufacturer’s attempt to tout their self serving assertions of “reasonableness” are not admissible at trial.

In prosecuting defective product case, the law permits a victim to make claim if either the manufacturer was negligent in the design or manufacturing of the product, or if the product was simply defective despite the manufacturer’s  reasonably efforts to design or manufacture the product safely.  Examples of defective products include tools, machinery, appliances, forklifts, cranes, toys and all goods placed into the stream of commerce.

Claims involving product defects are usually prosecuted pursuant to the Restatement (Second) of Torts § 402A, which is also know as strict liability.  The Restatement (Second) of Torts § 402A was adopted in Pennsylvania by Webb v. Zern, 422 Pa. 424, 220 A.2d 853 (1966) and states:

“One who sells any product in a defective condition unreasonably dangerous to the user or consumer or to his property is subject to liability for physical harm thereby caused to the ultimate user or consumer, or to his property, if the seller is engaged in the business of selling such a product, and it is expected to and does reach the user or consumer without substantial change in the condition in which it is sold. This rule applies although the seller has exercised all possible care in the preparation and sale of his product, and the user or consumer has not brought the product from or entered into any contractual relationship with seller.”

An accident or injury may sometimes be the result of a product defect, as opposed to human error. Investigating injuries should also consider the issue of whether the underlying reason for the injury was related to some type of defective product.

Robert F. Ferrara has prosecuted many product liability lawsuits, including claims involving:

» Defective automobiles and component parts

» Forklifts safety failures resulting in occupant injuries

» Industrial lift failures resulting in crush injuries

» Lawnmower defects creating “false neutral” to the traction control lever lock systems

If you believe that you or a loved one was injured by a defective product, it is imperative that you preserve the product in its original condition and immediately consult an attorney.

Call Ferrara Law Offices for a free consultation.