Most people trust that the products they purchase for themselves or their children have been made with care and that they have been released for sale without defects of which consumers are unaware. Yet, many products are dangerous either because they contain no or inadequate warnings of the risks associated with their use or because they contain some other form of defect that renders them unsafe. Many personal injuries and wrongful deaths are caused by defective products. When this occurs, victims may seek compensation for the damages suffered as a result of such injuries or deaths through legal action.
Product liability actions provide remedies for injuries caused by defective products, while wrongful death actions may allow recovery for deaths caused by such products. If you or a family member has been injured or killed as a result of a defective product, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries or loved one’s death from those responsible for the product defect. The Killino Firm’s Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, defective products attorneys have considerable expertise and experience with all types of defective products cases, including those that arise out of defects in cars and other motor vehicles, defects in children’s products, defects in medical equipment, and many others. Contact The Killino Firm at (215) 569-1299 for a free evaluation of your case and additional information about your legal options.
Legal Liability for Injuries and Deaths Caused by Defective Products
When someone has been injured or killed through as a result of a defective product, the victim or victim’s family members may be able to obtain compensation for the damages they have suffered through the institution of a product liability or wrongful death action.
Wrongful Death versus Product Liability Actions
Wrongful death actions for deaths caused by defective products are brought when a victim has died at the time of an accident or has died later as a result of injuries sustained in the accident. The wrongful death plaintiffs will be required to prove the liability and causation elements of their wrongful death claim in the same manner as such elements are proven in a product liability action to recover damages for non-fatal injuries caused by defective products. The damages in wrongful death actions, however, will differ from the damages recoverable in product liability actions for non-fatal injuries. Product liability actions for non-fatal injuries, which are brought by the injured person, allow recovery for certain damages suffered only by the injured person. Wrongful death actions, on the other hand, allow recovery for certain damages suffered by the victim’s survivors as a result of the victim’s death. Depending on the state in which a wrongful death action is filed, the survivors allowed to recover such damages may include the decedent’s spouse, the parents of a child decedent, and in some states, the grandparents or siblings of a child decedent.
Product Liability Law
When someone has been injured as a result of a product defect, or when a person’s accident injuries are enhanced (worsened or increased) as a result of a product defect, the injured person may seek recovery for the damages suffered as a result of such injuries through the institution of a product liability action against certain parties involved in the production and distribution of the defective product. Such actions may be brought when someone has purchased a defective product and is injured while using the product. They may also be brought when a product is not used as intended but is dangerous to children, for example, who can be expected to gain access to and become injured by the product. In cases involving injuries caused by motor vehicle defects, plaintiffs may be injured in crashes caused by a defect in a vehicle other than the vehicle driven by the plaintiff. The plaintiff may nevertheless be allowed to recover damages suffered as a result of the injuries sustained in such an accident from those responsible for the vehicle defect.
Product liability actions are governed by the laws of the state in which an action is filed. Some states follow the common law of the Uniform Commercial Code, while others have enacted statutes that specifically relate to product liability actions. Though most states have enacted some form of the Model Uniform Products Liability Act (MUPLA), product liability law governed by these statutes can differ from one state to another.
Despite the differences that may occur from state to state, most states’ product liability laws provide for product liability actions in the form of negligence, strict liability, and breach of warranty claims. Breach of warranty claims may be brought, for instance, to recover damages suffered as a result of a plaintiff’s payment for a product that was not what it was represented to be.
When product defects result in personal injuries or deaths rather than monetary damages, the negligence or strict liability forms of product liability actions are generally employed. Strict liability claims are usually preferred by plaintiffs to negligence claims, however, because strict liability claims relieve the plaintiff of the necessity of proving negligence or fault on the part of any of the defendants. The plaintiffs need only establish that a defect existed at the time a victim’s accident occurred, that the defect was a cause of the victim’s injuries or death, and that the injuries or death resulted in legally compensable damages to the plaintiff.
Under most states’ laws, the manufacturers, designers, suppliers, assemblers, and others in the chain of a product’s distribution may be held strictly liable for injuries or deaths caused by the product’s defect. The designers and manufacturers of component parts of such products may be held strictly liable, as well. Defects may occur in a product’s design or manufacture or as a result of the failure to warn of certain dangers associated with the product.
If you or a family member has been injured or killed, and you suspect that the injury or death was the result of a defective product, The Killino Firm’s Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, defective products attorneys can help you obtain the compensation you deserve. Contact us at (215) 569-1299 for expert assistance with your case.