Products Liability

Products liability is an area of personal injury law that focuses on dangerous and defective products.  Our firm represents plaintiffs in matters against corporations or manufacturers who have sold or manufactured unsafe products to consumers.  “Products” in this instance covers a wide range of categories, including:

  • Autos and other motor vehicles, including trucks, motorcycles and watercraft
  • Automobile accessories such as tires, seat belts, airbags and child car seats
  • Household products and appliances
  • Toys and recreational equipment
  • Clothing and apparel
  • Machinery and tools
  • Medical devices
  • Food
  • Toxic chemicals and substances, such as pesticides, asbestos, and mold 
  • Firearms

With today's technology boom, we have come to expect the products we purchase and use will be designed and manufactured so they are safe for our use. We also expect that the sellers and manufacturers of those products will provide reasonable warnings of its product's dangerous propensities, if any.  Nonetheless, not all sellers and manufacturers of products live up to these expectations and obligations.  Duvel Law, APC., has experience representing individuals who have been seriously injured or killed as the result of defective or incorrectly designed products.   

There are essentially three ways a product may be found to be defective:

  1. A Defect in Design.  A design defect exists when, even if the manufacturing and assembly was performed exactly as intended, the product was designed with a defect that makes every single such product dangerous.
  2. Manufacturing Defect. All products are to be designed according to exact specifications.  Unlike design defects, a manufacturing defect exists when a product with safe specifications becomes dangerous after its manufacture because the manufacturer failed to make the product in accordance with the designed specifications.
  3. Inadequate Warnings or Instructions.  A manufacturer will not be absolved of liability merely because he or she manufactures the product according to specifications given by the purchaser.  When the maker follows exact specifications, he or she is at least required to give adequate warnings.  If no warning is given, and the product is defective, he or she will be liable for the resulting injuries.  As such, a product may be defective if it does not come with complete and clear warnings, instructions and directions.

A manufacturer is “strictly liable” in tort when a product it places in the stream of commerce (on the market) proves to have a defect that causes injury to anyone.  Strict liability is also imposed on the manufacturer of component parts that are incorporated into the final product and that are defective at the time they are supplied to the assembler of the ultimate product.  In such a case, you may not necessarily have to prove that the manufacturer was “negligent”. 

Strict liability in tort is a liability that is absolute, requiring no proof of fault, in order to insure that the costs of injuries resulting from defective products are borne by the makers of the products rather than the injured individual.  This landmark decision was Greenman v. Yuba Power Products, Inc.  The rule of Greenman is that “a manufacturer is strictly liable in tort when an article he places on the market, knowing that it is to be used without inspection for defects, proves to have a defect that causes injury to a human being.”

Duvel Law, APC., has experience in representing clients who have been seriously injured or killed as the result of defective or incorrectly designed products.  If you've had an incident with a product that caused an injury, know of someone who was injured by a product, or are the survivor of someone who may have died from the use or exposure to a dangerous or defective product, it's important that you know your rights under the law.