Defective Product Claims

Faraci Lange is one of the most experienced and recognized firms in New York State in the field of product liability law. Faraci Lange has five attorneys listed in the Product Liability category of Best Lawyers in America, by far more than any other law firm in Western New York.

Faraci Lange has successfully handled cases involving defective consumer products (automobiles, exercise equipment, childrens’ clothing) defective medical products (breast implants, joint prostheses) and defective pharmaceuticals (Vioxx) as well as many others. Product liability suits are usually complex and expensive because the manufacturer defendants are typically large corporations with enormous resources. To be successful against such a defendant you need a dedicated and experienced team like the one at Faraci Lange.

 

What does Strict Product Liability Mean?

The basic premise of the strict product liability doctrine is that a manufacturer or distributor of a product is responsible for injuries caused by defects in that product. Courts have held that there are three separate types of defects:

  1. Design defects
  2. Manufacturing defects
  3. Defects in warnings or instructions.

If an injured victim can establish that such a defect was a proximate cause of the injury suffered, then the manufacturer or distributor will be held liable to compensate the victim for his or her damages.

In order to recover for an injury caused by a defective product the victim must have been using the product for its intended use. In other words, if the product is being used in a manner contrary to the manufacturer’s warnings and instructions when the injury occurs, then the manufacturer will have a defense to a strict product liability claim.  If you feel you have been the victim of a defective product, please contact Faraci Lange for a free consultation.

Comparison with Negligence Claims

Strict product liability claims are different than ordinary negligence claims, although there is substantial overlap between the two theories. To succeed with a general claim of negligence you must prove that the defendant acted unreasonably under the circumstances. Where a products liability claim is predicated on a manufacturing defect, proof of such a defect is all that is required and there is no requirement to prove that the manufacturer was negligent or acted unreasonably.

For instance, if a child’s swing set was manufactured with substandard steel such that the swing broke and caused injury, there would be no requirement to prove anything other than that the steel was substandard and not in conformance with the intended design. Claims of design defect, however, require a balancing of the risks against utility of the product and this analysis certainly approaches the general reasonableness standard in a negligence case. Similarly, the instructions and warnings required to be given to use a product safely are typically judged on a reasonableness standard that is typically indistinguishable from the general negligence standard of proof.