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On any given day, you interact with dozens–if not hundreds–of consumer products. From using a toaster to make breakfast to driving your car to work, to taking prescription drugs to treat a serious medical condition, there is simply no avoiding working with products manufactured by companies. And you reasonably expect those manufacturers to ensure your safety when using those products for their intended purpose.

Yet we all know that no consumer product is perfectly safe. Products often fail due to defects in how they were designed and manufactured. Alternatively, the manufacturer failed to provide adequate instructions or warnings to consumers on how to use the product correctly. As a result, many consumers suffer serious–and in some cases fatal–injuries that could have been avoided had the manufacturer, or other companies involved in the product’s distribution, acted in a responsible manner.

Saltz Mongeluzzi Bendesky P.C. is one of the leading product liability law firms serving clients in the Philadelphia region. If you, your child, or someone else in your household has been injured by a dangerous or defective consumer product, we can review your case and represent you in taking legal action against the responsible parties. Our team has a record of proven results in product liability cases, including multiple consumer class actions, and we look forward to sitting down with you to learn more about your situation and what we can do to help.

Strict Liability vs. Negligence in Product Liability Cases

Product liability claims typically fall under state law. In Pennsylvania, for instance, the courts have adopted a rule of “strict product liability.” In simple terms, this means that unlike many other kinds of personal injury claims, such as those arising from car accidents, the injured party in a product liability lawsuit does not have to prove negligence. Instead, companies that manufacture or sell consumer products are subject to a strict liability standard.

Under this standard, however, a product liability plaintiff must still prove there was some defect in the product. Such claims typically fall into one of three categories:

  • Defective Design: This is where there was some inherent flaw or mistake made by the manufacturer when designing the product such that all items using that design were unreasonably dangerous for ordinary consumer use. In Pennsylvania, courts apply one of two tests in assessing defective design claims. The first is the “consumer expectations” standard, which looks at whether the design was more dangerous than a reasonable consumer would expect. The second is the “risk-utility” standard, which examines whether the risk of injury from the manufacturer’s chosen design was outweighed by the risk of a consumer being harmed.
  • Defective Manufacture: This is where there was a problem with the production of the specific item that harmed the consumer. For example, if the product had a missing or defective part that caused it to fail, or it was somehow tainted or contaminated by a foreign substance before it left the factory, that would constitute a manufacturing defect.
  • Failure to Warn: Just about every consumer product carries some risk regardless of its design or construction. A manufacturer has a legal duty to warn consumers of any known risks or potential dangers, either through an instruction manual or other written warnings on the packaging. A consumer can file a product liability lawsuit if they do not receive such warnings.

Keep in mind, that many product liability claims involve all three of the categories described above. Additionally, you can base a product liability claim on other legal theories, including negligence or breach of warranty. But these require evidence that goes beyond simply proving that a defect existed in the product.

Also, while strict liability does not require proof of negligence, it still requires proof of causation. That is to say, you still have to show the product was defective in some way, and that defect directly injured you and caused you to suffer some actual harm.

Damages in Product Liability Cases

Actual harm is just another way of saying “damages,” which is the legal term used to describe a person’s losses arising from the product liability of a manufacturer, distributor, or seller. Say you fall off a ladder that was defectively designed or manufactured. In pursuing a product liability claim against the company that made the ladder, you could seek the following damages:

  • your past and estimated future medical bills;
  • your wages and other lost income due to time you missed from your job;
  • your estimated lost future income due to your diminished earning capacity;
  • the costs of repairing or replacing your damaged property;
  • compensation for your pain and suffering and emotional distress; and
  • punitive damages, which are meant to punish particularly egregious conduct by a defendant.

Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Philadelphia Product Liability Lawyer Today

How Saltz Mongeluzzi Bedensky Can Help You

Product liability cases are complicated for many reasons. First, there is the challenge of identifying all of the companies in a product’s supply chain that might be legally liable. Second, a defective product often injures more than just one consumer, which can make it more effective to bring a product liability case as a class action. Third, manufacturers are often well-funded corporations that will fight back, even when the evidence of a product defect is overwhelming.

It is therefore critical that you work with an experienced product liability attorney before taking on such businesses. Even if it seems obvious to you–or anyone with an ounce of common sense–that your injury was the result of a dangerous or defective product, you still must be prepared to present your case to a judge or jury. This is where we come in.

Saltz Mongeluzzi Bendesky P.C. knows how to build and win these cases. We have obtained numerous multi-million dollar verdicts for our product liability clients over the years. We are committed to holding product manufacturers legally and ethically accountable for improving their product safety standards to ensure that nobody else is hurt in the future.

So if you have been harmed by a defective product and would like to learn more about your rights under the law, contact Saltz Mongeluzzi Bendesky P.C. today to schedule a free case evaluation.