When we go to the store to buy something for our kids, we generally expect that whatever product we buy will be safe. Consumers have this expectation because products like toys, food and appliances are generally tested and must meet various standards before reaching the marketplace. Unfortunately, this doesn't always happen.
Defective products are released far too often and make their way into our shopping carts and homes where they present a serious threat to our safety. Should this happen and you or your loved one is hurt by the defective product, you can take legal action seeking compensation for damages.
However, defective product claims can be quite complicated. In order to prove a claim for compensation, you must be able to show how the product was defective.
There are three ways a product can be defective:
- The product has a defect in its design
- The product is the result of a flawed manufacturing process
- The product was sold without adequate warning and/or instructions
In many cases, it is not immediately clear where the defect in a product exists. You might know it's defective, but to file a legal claim, you need to confirm what the defect is and who is responsible for it.
Recently, for instance, thousands of youth football helmets were recalled. Thankfully, no one was hurt before the recall was announced, but the recall notice stated that the helmet shells could crack and expose wearers to head injuries. The cracking could be linked to a design defect, or it could be the result of flawed manufacturing.
Under New York product liability law the owner of the store where the product was bought, the manufacturer and the distributor of the defective product are all responsible for injuries caused by the defective product.
To successfully bring a defective product case the product must be preserved so that both your expert and the expert for the defendant can inspect the product. No destructive testing should be done before the opposing expert has the opportunity to inspect the product. If the product is lost or altered after the accident so that the opposing side cannot properly defend the case, the court will probably dismiss the claim.
It is important that a lawyer who has expertise in defective product claims be consulted as soon as possible. The lawyer must act quickly to secure the defective product and arrange for the expert inspection. Thorough preparation and strong advocacy is necessary to win a defective product claim.