When you buy a product you expect that product to work as advertised and to be safe for its intended use. You should also expect that the product comes with all necessary warnings and instructions in order to use it safely. If a product is defective and is unsafe for use, the manufacturer and seller of the product may be held responsible for any injury caused by the defect.
Cases involving defective products are often referred to as product liability cases. A product may be unsafe if it lacks any element necessary to make it safe. Even a product that is perfectly designed and manufactured may be unsafe or defective if it fails to include all necessary warnings and instructions.
In Pennsylvania, the law holds the manufacturer and seller of a product responsible if its product is defective and causes injury. The supplier is responsible even if it has taken all possible care in the design and sale of its product. A product liability attorney can help you gain financial compensation for damages created by defective products.
This legal doctrine, also called strict liability, is meant to protect citizens of Pennsylvania from defective or unsafe products by holding manufacturers and sellers responsible for harm caused by their unsafe products. It is also meant to encourage manufacturers to design and manufacture products safely and with all necessary warnings.
Our team of liability lawyers have handled numerous complex cases involving:
- Electric vehicles
- Industrial power trucks
- Fall protection devices and lanyards
- Hand tools
- Construction equipment
- Power tools
I highly recommend John Mattiacci as an attorney. He has gone above and beyond what was required of him in my case. I could not have asked for a better attorney to help me through the trial process.Jill S.
Frequently Asked Questions
What do I have to prove to win a product liability claim?
To win in court (and practically speaking, at the settlement table), you must prove four elements – each of them under a “more likely than not” (51% likelihood) standard:
- You suffered an injury
- The product in question is defective does not have all safety features necessary to make it safe for its intended use
- The product’s defect caused your injury
- You were using the product as intended or in a way that was reasonably foreseeable by the manufacturer or seller
What kinds of defects can support a product liability claim?
You must prove that the product contained one of the three following types of defects: Design defect:
- The design of the product rendered it more dangerous than consumers would normally expect (the consumer expectation test) or more dangerous than its usefulness justifies (the risk/utility test).
- Manufacturing defect: The product is defective because it was not manufactured in accordance with its design.
- Warning defect: The product failed to warn consumers of the product’s dangers (“Should not be taken by pregnant women”, for example).
Is there a time limit for filing a product liability lawsuit?
Yes. You normally have two years after the date of the accident to file a lawsuit in either Pennsylvania or New Jersey. There is a limited exception – when the dangers of the product are fraudulently concealed, the two-year period doesn’t begin running until the victim knows or should have known of the defect.
Who can I sue?
You can sue anyone in the chain of distribution of the product including manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers. You can even sue the party that designed the product. You don’t have to prove that any of these parties were negligent to win the lawsuit. New Jersey recently enacted a specific statute that deals with product liability claims. That law in New Jersey addresses the liability that may be imposed on a manufacturer and seller of a defective product.
Are there any types of products for which I would need to prove negligence to win?
Yes. If you are injured by a prescription drug in Pennsylvania, you may need to prove that the defendant was negligent in order to win. It is currently unclear whether or not you have to prove negligence to win a product liability lawsuit over a prescription medical device. Generally, the firm will bring both strict liability and negligence claims in a lawsuit.
What happens if the accident was partly my fault?
If the court rules that the accident was partly your fault, it will assign you a percentage of fault. If your fault was 51 percent or more, you will recover nothing. If your fault was 50 percent or less, you will lose that portion of your damages that corresponds to your percentage of fault, but you can recover the rest. However, in a product liability case, if a defendant is held strictly liable then generally a plaintiff’s comparative negligence may not be used as a defense. The conduct of a plaintiff may only be used in limited circumstances.
What is a statue of repose?
A statute of repose sets a deadline beyond which you may not file a product liability lawsuit over defective real estate improvements (e.g., electrical wiring) that injure you. In Pennsylvania, the deadline is 12 years after the improvements were made, while in New Jersey the deadline is 10 years after the improvements were made.
What kind of compensatory damages am I eligible to receive?
You are eligible to receive compensation for your medical expenses, lost earnings, incidental expenses, and pain and suffering, to the extent that you can prove these losses.
Do I have to be the owner of the product to recover damages in a product liability claim?
No. Generally it is irrelevant whether or not you own the product, at least to the extent that you are claiming compensation for personal injury. Naturally, you cannot recover for the value of the product if you didn’t own it.
About John Mattiacci
Any lawyer who passes the bar exam is eligible to pursue a product liability claim on behalf of his client. Since all lawyers are not created equal, however, your choice of lawyer might just turn out to be the most important decision you make concerning your product liability claim. John Mattiacci began practicing law in 2002, and since then he has made his mark, to say the least:
- He has recovered tens of millions of dollars for his clients over the last ten years alone.
- He has received an AV Pre-eminent Rating from the Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Rating
- He has been inducted into the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum, along with only one percent of all lawyers.
- He was named a “Pennsylvania Rising Star” by Super Lawyers. Only about one in forty Pennsylvania lawyers qualify.
Our liability attorneys in Moorestown have secured substantial seven figure verdicts in numerous defective product cases involving death and serious injury.
Get Started Today; Call the Product Liability Lawyer Serving Clients in the NJ and PA Areas
You don’t need to worry that you can’t afford a lawyer – I don’t charge upfront fees, and you only pay me if I win compensation for you. If you or a family member have been injured by an unsafe or defective product, contact Moorestown product liability lawyer John Mattiacci today for a free consultation. You can also call my toll-free number at (866) 617-0050.
More information regarding defective products may be found at the website of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.