Like the average American family, you probably bring dozens of consumer products into your home every year, ranging from appliances and electronics to clothing, bedding, and children’s toys. You probably don’t give a second thought about the risk of injuries that can result from defects, since you expect manufacturers to put a high priority on putting a safe product on store shelves. However, statistics compiled by the National Safety Council reveal that dangerous, defective items pose a significant safety threat. In 2018, almost 14 million individuals received treatment in hospital emergency rooms from injuries linked to consumer products.
Fortunately, you may have rights, through New York products liability laws, to seek compensation for your losses. The legal process and procedures are highly complex, but you can count on our experienced attorneys at Powers & Santola, LLP to advocate on your behalf. Please contact us to set up a case evaluation with a Rochester products liability claims lawyer who can explain how these cases work. You might also find it helpful to review some important information about the applicable laws.
Legal Basis in Products Liability Claims: While the legal concept of product liability generally incorporates dangerous, defective items, there are different grounds that establish your rights as an injured victim. They include:
- Negligence: In the context of products liability, negligence may be the basis for a claim where the manufacturer is careless in producing, distributing, and selling a defective item. To recover compensation, you must prove that your injuries were reasonably foreseeable and directly caused by the organization’s negligent conduct.
- Strict Liability: The elements of negligence can be difficult to prove because the evidence is often inaccessible to the injured victim. Still, it’s possible to proceed with a claim through a concept known as strict liability. You don’t need to prove that the manufacturer was negligent or at fault; you do need to show that the item was defective and you were hurt as a result of using it as intended.
- Breach of Warranty: Some manufacturers produce consumer products with an attached warranty, either express or implied. They’re basically promising – either outright or through implication – that the product is safe for its intended usage. When the product doesn’t comply with this warranty and a victim suffers injuries, he or she may sue for breach of warranty.
Types of Defects in Products: In a claim based upon any of the products liability theories above, you must have evidence regarding the flaw. There are distinctions regarding how an item may rise to the level of being dangerously defective, such as:
- Defects in design, where the product’s “blueprint” includes a critical error that makes it unsafe;
- Defective manufacturing, in which one batch of goods becomes dangerous because of a mistake in the production process; and,
- Failure to warn or labeling defects, in which the manufacturer doesn’t include proper instructions, indications, or warnings about usage of the product.
Seeking Compensation for Your Losses: Though there are different theories of liability behind a product liability claim, it’s possible to recover many of the same types of monetary damages if you prove the essential elements. A Rochester products liability claims attorney can assist you in obtaining compensation for:
- Medical costs related to treating your injuries;
- Lost wages, if you were unable to work because of your injuries;
- Pain and suffering;
- Scarring and disfigurement;
- Emotional distress;
- Losses based upon how your injuries affect your quality of life and personal relationships; and,
- Many other types of monetary damages.
You should note that there are time limitations in New York products liability cases, though the state’s statute of limitations on personal injury cases. In most cases, you must file a lawsuit in court within three years in a claim for a defective product, or you’re forever barred from recovering compensation. In many product liability cases, the clock on the statute of limitations starts on the date you were injured. However, there are some exceptions that extend the time period, such as where you didn’t discover that you were injured by a dangerous product until some time after the harm occurred. This “discovery” rule is often applied when a victim suffers injuries through exposure to hazardous substances. However, there are circumstances when the statute of limitations is shorter than three years, therefore, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible.
Discuss Your Legal Options With A Rochester Products Liability Claims Attorney
As you can see, your rights and remedies under New York products liability laws involve complicated legal concepts that you may not be prepared to address. Allow our team at Powers & Santola, LLP to shoulder the burden for you. We’re experienced in taking on large manufacturers, and we will relentlessly fight to get the compensation you deserve. Please contact us today to schedule a consultation at our offices in Albany, Rochester, or Syracuse, NY.