Product Liability Attorney in Philadelphia

Your Right to Safe Products

It is the responsibility of manufacturers to make safe products.

When consumers purchase goods or products for use in our offices or homes, whether it be a lawnmower, drill, lamp, crib, cigarette lighter, household cleaners, or even a child’s toy, we have every right to expect that they do not come with hidden hazards or defects which can injure, maim, or kill innocent victims. Every day newspapers are full of stories of people who were hurt or killed by a product that was thought to be safe. There is no limit on the types of potentially unsafe products that can cause consumers to be injured or killed. If you or a loved one has been injured by a dangerous or defective product, you may be able to pursue what is known as a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer, wholesaler, retailer, distributor, seller or supplier in the commercial chain of distribution to recover compensation for your medical expenses, wage loss, pain and suffering, emotional distress and other harms.

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Justice Starts Here. Justice Starts Now.

    Product liability claims are complicated and difficult claims to pursue from a legal standpoint. To make matters worse, product makers and companies typically vigorously and aggressively defend product liability lawsuits, since an enormously profitable and popular consumer product or the company’s reputation may be at stake.

    Generally speaking, in order to prove a product liability claims, in addition to showing that you or a loved one sustained an injury, it is also necessary to prove that the product in question is defective, that the defect caused the injury, and that you were using the product as it was intended to be used.

    Dino Privitera

    Your Attorney

    Mr. Privitera is the founder of The Privitera Law Firm LLC and concentrates his practice on the representation of catastrophically injured victims.

    Mr. Privitera has been repeatedly recognized throughout the legal community for his skill and expertise, work ethic, preparation and dedication to his clients in personal injury and wrongful death matters. Mr. Privitera has earned the respect of the legal community, has extensive experience, a sterling reputation for handling significant personal injury and wrongful death cases and proven track record of success and outstanding results.

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    Dangerous Product Statistics

    The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is charged with the task of protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death associated with the use of the thousands of types of consumer products that may pose a fire, electrical, chemical, or mechanical hazard. In order to protect consumers from injuries or death caused by dangerous products, the CPSC is authorized to ban dangerous or establish safety requirements for consumer products, issue recalls of products on the market and research potential product hazards.

    Dangerous and defective products are flooding the marketplace. According to the CPSC, “[d]eaths, injuries, and property damage from consumer product incidents cost the nation more than $1 trillion annually.” The death and injury toll caused by dangerous and defective consumer products is nothing short of staggering. In the United States, the proliferation of all kinds of defective and faulty consumer products has caused thousands of injuries and deaths. Some of death and injury statistics compiled by the CPSC about certain consumer products include the following:

    Between 2003 – 2013, there were an estimated 113,272 emergency department-treated injuries associated with inflatable amusements, such as moon bounces, and 12 deaths reported to the CPSC.
    Between 1982 and 2014, CPSC received reports of 13,617 ATV-related fatalities, 3,098, or 23%, of ATV-related fatalities were of children younger than 16 years of age. Of the 3,098 reported ATV-related fatalities of children younger than 16 years of age, 1,342, or 43%, were younger than 12 years of age. In 2014, there were an estimated 93,700 ATV-related, emergency department-treated injuries in the United States. An estimated 26 percent of these involved children younger than 16 years of age.
    In 2012 alone, the CPSC estimated 138 unintentional, non-fire CO poisoning deaths associated with consumer products. The estimated annual average from 2010 to 2012 was 153 deaths. Over 80% of CO-related fatalities were associated with generators and other engine-driven tools and heating systems. Since 2002, portable generators have been associated with more non-fire CO fatalities than any other consumer product under CPSC jurisdiction.
    Between 2007 and 2009, the CPSC estimated an average of 70 electrocution fatalities were associated with consumer products, with an estimated 60 consumer product-related electrocutions in 2007, 50 in 2008, and 100 in 2009. In the three year period, the CPSC reported that the three most common product categories associated with electrocutions were: “Small Appliance” (22 electrocutions), “Large Appliance” (19 electrocutions), and “Power Tool” (10 electrocutions).
    Between 2011 and 2013, the CPSC estimated that an annual average of 358,800 fires, 2,160 deaths, 12,230 injuries, and $6.35 billion in property loss over the three-year period were caused by consumer products. Cooking equipment accounted for the largest percentage of fires and heating and cooling equipment fires constituted the second-largest share of total residential fires.
    In 2015, the CPSC received reports of 11 non-occupational fireworks-related deaths. The CPSC cautioned that because reporting of fireworks-related deaths for 2015 was not complete, the number of deaths in 2015 should be considered “a minimum.” CPSC staff receives an average of 7.4 reports of fireworks-related deaths per year. Fireworks were involved in an estimated 11,900 injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments during the calendar year 2015. The estimated rate of emergency department-treated injuries is 3.7 per 100,000 individuals in the United States.
    Between 2013 and 2015, the CPSC found that there were, on average, an estimated 5,600 pool or spa-related hospital emergency department treated nonfatal drowning injuries and 367 pool or spa-related drownings, involving children younger than 15 years old. Seventy-seven percent of the reported drownings from 2011 through 2013, and an annual average of 77 % of the treated non-fatal drowning injuries from 2013 through 2015, involved children younger than 5 years of age.
    According to the CPSC, in 2014, there were an estimated 69,300 emergency department-treated injuries associated with nursery products among children younger than 5 years old. The CPSC estimated that about 66 % of the injuries were associated with cribs/mattresses, infant carriers, strollers/carriages, and high chairs. Falls were a leading cause of injury. Head and face injuries were the most frequent body parts injured. A majority of injuries involved a diagnosis of internal organ injury, contusions/abrasions or lacerations. Between 2010 and 2012, the CPSC had reports of 311 deaths associated with nursery products among children younger than 5 years old. Eighty-six percent of the reported fatalities involved cribs/mattresses, bassinettes/cradles, playpens/play yards, infant carriers and baby baths/bath seats/bathinettes. Among other things, the causes of death included positional asphyxia, strangulation, and drowning.

    Between 2000 and 2011, at least 363 fatalities in the United States were caused by falling furniture, electronics, and appliances. The CPSC estimates that about 82% of victims of the reported fatalities were younger than 8 years old. Emergency department-treated injuries associated with product instability have been estimated to occur at a rate of 38,000 per year. The CPSC reported that the majority of all falling furniture incidents, injuries, and estimated fatalities occurred in consumers’ homes, and that head injuries, injuries from being crushed under falling electronics or by tipped-over furniture and appliances, constitute the most common injuries.

    In 2014, the CPSC received 11 reports of toy-related deaths among children younger than 12 years old and estimated that there were 251,800 toy-related injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments.

    What Is a Defective Product?

    Generally speaking, it is important to understand, and to thoroughly investigate, the possibility that there may be multiple parties responsible for causing the injury or death of a worker at a construction site based on the sheer number of entities typically involved in a large scale construction project. Some of the parties to consider may include:

    Design Defects

    In product liability cases based on a design defect, the product is manufactured correctly, but the claim is that there is an inherent flaw or problem in the product’s design itself which renders the product unreasonably dangerous for its intended use. In design defect cases, the claim is that the product’s design itself has created a safety hazard to the ordinary consumer. These are very difficult cases to make out against companies since the defect is not isolated or limited to an individual product that may have malfunctioned and caused an injury, but instead typically exists in all of the company’s manufactured products. A design defect claim focuses on the flawed design features of the product and extends to every single product made and distributed in the company’s entire production line. Some examples of a design defect in a product may include a car that has poor handling and stability characteristics resulting in inordinate roll-over accidents, a circular saw that lacks a safety guard, an industrial slitter machine that lacks a safety “kill-switch”, electric blankets that overheat and burst into flames when left on, a bullet-proof vest made out of soft rubber or plastic or protective headgear or helmets made without liners, shells or straps or padding or other safety features necessary to avoid or reduce head trauma and concussion injuries.

    Manufacturing Defects

    A manufacturing defect may occur when a product is made or constructed differently than the intended design for the product which makes it dangerous, unsafe, and unfit for its intended use. Manufacturing defects are different from design defects. On the one hand, a manufacturing defect is an unplanned mistake that occurs in making the product which would be safe if it were made as originally designed. On the other hand, a design defect in a product is said to make the product inherently unsafe because it is designed as originally planned. A manufacturing defect generally affects a product or just a portion of the production line that was manufactured in a faulty manner usually because of the use of poor-quality materials or carelessness during the assembly or manufacturing process.

    Manufacturing Defects

    A manufacturing defect may occur when a product is made or constructed differently than the intended design for the product which makes it dangerous, unsafe, and unfit for its intended use. Manufacturing defects are different from design defects. On the one hand, a manufacturing defect is an unplanned mistake that occurs in making the product which would be safe if it were made as originally designed. On the other hand, a design defect in a product is said to make the product inherently unsafe because it is designed as originally planned. A manufacturing defect generally affects a product or just a portion of the production line that was manufactured in a faulty manner usually because of the use of poor-quality materials or carelessness during the assembly or manufacturing process.

    Marketing, Or Failure to Warn, Defects

    Even if there is no design flaw, and the product was properly and carefully assembled during the manufacturing process, a product may still be defective if it lacked warnings, or had inadequate warnings. Warnings are usually required when the manufacturer knows that a product may pose a danger to the consumer even if the product is used as intended, particularly if the associated danger is not one that would be obvious to the consumer. As a general rule of thumb, an effective warning or caution label, not only warns consumers of hidden dangers associated with the product but also instructs consumers on how to properly and safely use the product. An effective warning or caution label also should be clear, comprehensible and conspicuously located on the product.

    The Defect Must Cause the Injury

    In order for the injured party to successfully bring a product liability claim, it is important to establish that the injury was caused by the specific defect in the product. This may be more complicated than you may think in some cases. Product makers often defend products by attempting to break the causal chain. In other words, product makers may argue that the product defect was not the cause of the injury, or was such an indirect or remote cause of the injury, as to be legally invalid.

    The Product Must Have Been Used as It Was Intended

    Product makers also often employ the strategy of blaming the consumer for causing their own injuries. In essence, the company defends its product by saying that the consumer’s injury or death was not caused by a defective product, but instead by the consumer’s misuse of the product.

    Generally speaking, a product should be used in a manner that was intended by the manufacturer. If an injured party used a product in an unintended manner or in a manner that was not foreseeable by the manufacturer, then the manufacturer may have grounds to defend the case based on the consumer’s misuse of the product. So, for example, if a person is seriously injured while using a lawnmower to trim hedges, or cuts off a finger while juggling butcher knives, you’re probably going to have a tough time pursuing a valid product liability case.

    That said, consumers shouldn’t be confused into thinking that a product must be used in absolute and exact conformity with the manufacturer’s specifications. A manufacturer of a product is under a duty of care to reasonably anticipate that consumers sometimes do use products in ways that may not be intended, but should be expected. If a manufacturer could reasonably expect or predict that a consumer would use a product in a foreseeable manner, even if unintended, then the manufacturer may still be liable for the consumer’s injuries. Simply put, the legal notion of intended use includes any reasonably foreseeable misuse of a product.