When it comes to the products we use every day, we expect them to be safe and free from defects. However, in reality, defective products can cause serious harm, injuries, and even death. Product liability cases are legal actions taken by individuals who have suffered injuries due to defective products. In the state of New Jersey, as in many other parts of the United States, product liability laws are designed to protect consumers from the harm caused by faulty goods.
Blume Forte Fried Zerres & Molinari is a law firm in New Jersey that has been at the forefront of product liability cases for over 50 years. Our experienced attorneys have successfully represented numerous clients in product liability cases, helping them obtain the compensation they deserve and holding manufacturers and distributors accountable for their negligence.
In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the various aspects of product liability in New Jersey. We will discuss the different types of product defects, the process of proving liability in product liability cases, the steps involved in pursuing compensation, and real case examples that illustrate successful product liability claims. By the end of this article, you will have a better understanding of your rights as a consumer in New Jersey and the importance of seeking legal representation when injured by defective products.
Types of Product Defects
Product liability cases typically revolve around three main types of defects: design defects, manufacturing defects, and marketing defects.
Design defects occur when a product’s inherent design is flawed and poses an unreasonable risk to consumers when used as intended. In such cases, the entire product line may be inherently unsafe. To establish liability in a design defect case, it must be proven that the product’s design was unreasonably dangerous and that there was a feasible and safer alternative design that the manufacturer could have used. Successful lawsuits against manufacturers often lead to product recalls and redesigns to eliminate the design defect.
Manufacturing defects occur during the production process when a product deviates from its intended design, rendering it unsafe or dangerous. These defects are specific to a particular unit or batch of the product rather than the entire product line. To succeed in a manufacturing defect case, the injured party must demonstrate that the defect was present when the product left the manufacturer’s control and that the defect directly caused the injury.
Marketing defects, also known as failure-to-warn defects, involve inadequate instructions, warnings, or labeling for a product. If a product lacks proper warnings about potential risks or if the instructions for safe use are insufficient, manufacturers and distributors may be held liable for any injuries that result from these omissions. Consumers need to be adequately informed of the potential dangers associated with a product.
Proving Liability in Product Liability Cases
Proving liability in a product liability case can be complex, and it requires a thorough understanding of the legal principles involved. To establish liability, the following elements need to be demonstrated:
Duty of Care:
The manufacturer or distributor owed a duty of care to the consumer to provide a safe product. This duty extends to all potential users of the product.
Breach of Duty:
It must be shown that the manufacturer or distributor breached their duty of care by providing a product with a defect.
The defect in the product must be the direct cause of the plaintiff’s injuries or damages. In other words, the plaintiff must prove that the defect was the proximate cause of their harm.
The plaintiff must have suffered actual damages, such as medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, or other losses, as a result of the defective product.
In some cases, New Jersey law allows for strict liability, meaning that the plaintiff does not need to prove negligence on the part of the manufacturer or distributor. Instead, they need only demonstrate that the product was defective and that the defect caused their injuries.
Pursuing Compensation and Product Recalls
If you or a loved one has been injured due to a defective product, there are legal avenues available to seek compensation for your losses. The compensation may cover medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages incurred as a result of the injury.
Additionally, pursuing legal action against manufacturers and distributors of defective products can lead to product recalls, preventing further injuries to others.
It’s essential to consult with an experienced product liability attorney to guide you through the legal process. Here are the steps typically involved in pursuing compensation in a product liability case:
Consultation with an Attorney:
The first step is to consult with a knowledgeable product liability attorney who can evaluate your case, gather evidence, and advise you on the best course of action.
Your attorney will conduct a thorough investigation into the product and its defects. This may involve gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses, and consulting with experts in the field.
Filing a Lawsuit:
If your attorney determines that you have a valid claim, they will file a lawsuit on your behalf against the responsible parties, which may include the manufacturer, distributor, or retailer.
Negotiation and Settlement:
In many cases, parties involved may opt for settlement negotiations to avoid lengthy and costly court proceedings. Your attorney will negotiate with the opposing party to reach a fair settlement that compensates you for your injuries.
If a settlement cannot be reached, the case will proceed to trial. Your attorney will present your case to a judge and jury, arguing that the manufacturer or distributor is liable for your injuries.
If successful, you will be awarded compensation for your injuries and damages as determined by the court.
Real Case Examples of Successful Product Liability Claims
Let’s take a look at some real case examples of successful product liability claims in New Jersey, which highlight the importance of seeking legal representation when injured by defective products:
Ford Pinto Explosion Case:
In the 1970s, Ford Motor Company faced a series of lawsuits related to its subcompact car, the Ford Pinto. The Pinto had a design defect that made it prone to explode upon rear-end collisions. The defect was attributed to the placement of the gas tank, which was vulnerable to impact. Several lawsuits were filed against Ford, resulting in substantial settlements for the injured parties.
Johnson & Johnson Talcum Powder Lawsuits:
In recent years, Johnson & Johnson faced numerous lawsuits alleging that its talcum powder products contained asbestos, leading to ovarian cancer in some women who used them. These cases resulted in significant settlements and verdicts in favor of the plaintiffs.
IVC Filter Litigation:
Inferior vena cava (IVC) filters are medical devices designed to prevent blood clots. However, several manufacturers faced lawsuits after their IVC filters malfunctioned and caused serious injuries. Some of these cases resulted in substantial verdicts in favor of the injured patients.
Contact an Experienced Defective Product Lawyer At Blume Forte Fried Zerres & Molinari for a Free Consultation About Your Case Today
Injuries caused by defective products can have devastating consequences for individuals and their families. However, it’s crucial to understand that consumers have legal rights and protections in place to hold manufacturers and distributors accountable for their negligence. New Jersey, like many other states, has specific product liability laws designed to safeguard consumers.
Blume Forte Fried Zerres & Molinari is a leading law firm in New Jersey with a rich history of successfully representing clients in product liability cases. Our experienced attorneys are committed to ensuring that those who have suffered injuries due to defective products receive the compensation they deserve.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a defective product, do not hesitate to seek legal representation. Your rights matter, and pursuing a product liability claim may not only result in compensation for your injuries but also contribute to the safety of others by forcing manufacturers and distributors to rectify defects through recalls and design improvements.
Remember that you are not alone in your pursuit of justice, and experienced legal professionals are available to guide you through the legal process. Product liability cases can be complex, but with the right legal support, you can achieve the resolution and compensation you deserve.