Defective Products in Pennsylvania
When manufacturers place a product that is known to be defective (or potentially defective) in the marketplace for sale, they are responsible for the injuries and subsequent damages caused by those products. That responsibility also trickles down the entire supply chain, from manufacturer to distributor/wholesaler to the specific retailer who sold you the product. With those parameters, there is a wide range of potentially defective or dangerous products that could cause injury, including:
- Children’s toys
- Auto parts
- Equipment and machines
- Prescriptions and medications
- Defective machine designs
- Defective tires
- Household appliances
How to File a Defective Product Claim
A defective or dangerous product, in legal terms, is known as “product liability.” This means holding a company responsible for injuries sustained during the use of their product. The key to this form of liability is proving negligence. In Pennsylvania, there are three categories a defective product can fall under:
This occurs when there is a defect inherent to the design of a product that makes it unsafe for use. When a design is flawed and someone is injured due to the defective design, this is a case of product liability.
A manufacturing defect comes about while the product is being created. If the product causes an injury because of a defect from manufacturing, this may be a case of negligence. The manufacturer could be held strictly liable even if they had no knowledge of the defect.
Lack of Warning
A manufacturer must warn consumers about the dangers of a product and provide adequate instructions. If they fail to provide warnings and someone is injured by the product, the manufacturer is not likely to win a suit brought against it.
Can Users Be Held Responsible for Their Injuries?
Pennsylvania is a “comparative fault” state, meaning that the injured person cannot be found to be more than 50 percent responsible for the resulting injury from the use of a defective or dangerous product. If the person is found to be more than 50 percent responsible, they may not recover damages.
Several potential parties could be held responsible for a defective or dangerous product. In general, any company that manufactured, sold, distributed, leased, rented, or imported a defective product, might be held liable.
Every company has a duty to design, manufacture, distribute, lease, or sell products that are not defective. If a product was defective when it left the defendant’s control, the defendant may be liable for the harm caused by the defect. This is known as “strict liability.” Under strict liability, the plaintiff does not need to prove that the defendant was negligent or had the intent to injure. It must only be shown that the product was defective, that the defect made the product unreasonably dangerous, and that the defect caused the injury.