Product Liability Legal Theories
Product liability claims can be filed under one of the following three legal theories:
- Negligence: Under this legal theory, the injured person (or plaintiff) argues that a liable entity (whether that’s the product designer, manufacturer, distributor, etc.) was somehow negligent in the creation, manufacture, sale, or marketing of the product.
- Strict Liability: In cases involving strict liability, product designers, manufacturers, and distributors (as well as other entities involved in the chain of production) are liable for defective products regardless of whether or not they acted negligently.
- Breach of Warranty: Under this theory, the plaintiff argues that the product did not work in the way in which it was intended or marketed and, therefore, the liable party breached either an express or implied warranty to the consumer.
These theories overlap in many ways, so it is not uncommon for a plaintiff’s complaint to include all three legal theories, especially when multiple entities are at fault for an injury. Although all of these legal theories have different elements of proof, they also involve a similar claim—namely that a product was defective, or not reasonably safe due to a design defect, flawed manufacturing process, or inadequate warning.
What Types of Defects Does Product Liability Cover?
In most product liability cases, the defect claimed by the plaintiff falls under one of the following three categories:
- Design defect
- Manufacturing defect
- Failure to warn
Determining which of these defects caused an injury requires a thorough investigation into the product in question, the facts of the accident, as well as the types of injuries the plaintiff suffered.
How to Prove Product Liability in New York
To successfully file a product liability claim in New York, a plaintiff will need to prove that the manufacturer, seller, and/or distributor of the product failed to use reasonable care in one or more of the following ways:
- The design of the product
- The manufacturing of the product
- Providing adequate warnings concerning dangers with the intended (and even some unintended) uses of the product
To prove there was a failure to warn or an inadequate warning, you must show that the company knew or should have known about the dangers or hazards that caused the injury. In New York, a company is held as an expert in its respective industry and has a duty to stay current with the medical and scientific literature within its field; this is how you show a company “should have known” about hazards or dangers associated with the product it sold.
Finally, you must prove that defect in the product was a substantial cause of your injuries. This typically involves proving the following:
- The defect in question was a substantial factor in causing your injury, and;
- You were using the product for its intended purpose or for a reasonably foreseeable reason.
The third legal theory upon which New York plaintiffs can base a product liability case is a breach of warranty.
These actions can be based on two types of warranties:
- Express warranties, such as those included on a product label or in an advertisement
- Implied warranties of merchantability, or the implied understanding that a product is fit to be used for a specific purpose
For help determining whether you have a product liability case under New York law, please contact our Buffalo product liability attorneys today.
Buffalo Product Liability Lawyer
Representing Victims of Defective Products in Western New York
Although most people realize that they can hold individuals accountable for their negligent and reckless conduct, many are not aware that the same is true for businesses and corporations that manufacture consumer products. This is an important legal option, as consumer products can and do cause a significant number of injuries every year.
Product liability cases are notoriously complex, as they often involve the claims of multiple corporations. If you were injured by a consumer product and you have questions about filing a defective product claim, it is important to contact a skilled Buffalo product liability attorney. At Richmond Vona, LLC, we have the resources and experience to effectively represent you and your loved ones.
Give us a call at (716) 300-5885 or contact us online today to learn how we can assist you. We are available at any time.
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Please contact the dedicated Buffalo personal injury team at Richmond Vona, LLC to learn more about filing a product liability claim in Western New York. Our firm is not afraid of taking on tough, complex cases and going up against major product manufacturers and their insurance providers. We have a proven track record of success, having secured hundreds of millions of dollars for our clients, and we are ready to put our powerful reputation, experience, and resources on your side.
Contact us today at (716) 300-5885 to discuss your potential case with one of our product liability lawyers in Buffalo.
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