Product Liability

There is absolutely no doubt that products are safer today than ever before, and in large part that is due to lawsuits. I know that nobody wants to give lawyers credit for anything, but it is the truth. When a lawyer rightfully sues because a product is defective and hurts someone, they effect change.  Manufacturers don’t want to continually get sued, so when they realize that there is a legitimate problem with something that they’ve designed and put it into the flow of commerce, they address it.  If they do it on their own it’s entitled a “recall”; when they change it because of a lawsuit it is called progress.  It all really makes sense.   Manufacturers make money by putting products into commerce for people to use.  That’s the system we live in and it’s the American way.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with it.  But when you introduce any item for public consumption, you are silently warranting that that product is safe for its intended use.

We recently handled a case where a 55 year old banker was riding a bicycle that broke. He didn’t hit anything, there was no pothole encountered, there was no rock in the middle of the road.  The frame of the bike simply broke.  A case like that could come down to faulty design, faulty materials, faulty workmanship or owner error. The lawyer’s job is to take the facts and have them analyzed to come up with the most likely cause of the accident.  In that instance we gave the bike to a mechanical engineer at MIT who then performed tests on the metal to see how much stress it could take.  It became a matter of science that the bicycle was woefully inadequate and that the metal simply wasn’t strong enough to deal with the fatigue associated with normal wear and tear.

It’s an unspoken agreement between the consumer and the manufacturer that if a product is put into commerce that it has been designed adequately and tested properly. That the materials chosen are of sufficient strength and that the consumer can use it in an anticipated manner.  Same is true for any product.  Your airbag should not go off for no reason, your toaster should not catch fire and vaporizers should not burn children.  We’ve handled all those cases at one time or another.  If you are injured because of any product, and you were in the course of using the product appropriately, a case probably exists.  If you find yourself in this unfortunate situation please know that there will be two goals:  the first is that you will be adequately compensated for the injuries you sustained; and the second will be that the company will now be on notice that the product is not fit for its intended purpose and that they need to notify people of the danger or recall the product to address the concern.

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