What Is New Jersey Product Liability Law?
There are literally thousands of situations involving products that can give rise to suits for damages. If any injury is related to the use of a product, a NJ defective product attorney familiar with products liability law and experienced in handling such matters should be consulted. Since cases of this sort are almost always handled on a contingent fee basis, there is generally no charge for the initial consultation with the lawyer.
Products liability is that aspect of personal injury law that permits an injured person to recover money damages from the manufacturer, seller, distributor, or other person involved with placing a product into the stream of commerce if the product was defective or unsafe.
Products liability cases range from obvious situations, such as an instance where the purchaser of a new car is injured when the brakes fail as he drives it out of the showroom; to the not so obvious situation where a child is born with birth defects after its mother had taken a drug such as Bendectin during pregnancy; from a design defect, such as a seat in a Volkswagen which is capable of coming loose in a relatively minor rear-end impact causing its occupant to be propelled into the rear seat roof or even out of the rear window; to a back yard swimming pool which does not bear a sign warning users of the dangers of diving into it. Almost any injury or death directly or indirectly related to the use of a product may potentially justify money damages from a company which is responsible for marketing or manufacturing a defective product.
A products liability claim is one of the few cases where the injured person has the advantage over the defendant manufacturer, seller or distributor and its insurance company in the investigation and preparation of the case. In most instances, the manufacturer of the defective product is unaware of the incident which gave rise to the claim until hearing from the injured party or his attorney.
Therefore, it is imperative in the prosecution of a New Jersey products liability claim that the victim obtain an attorney who is well versed in the intricacies of preparing a products case. Then the attorney can do what is necessary to preserve the evidence (usually the faulty product), have it examined by engineers and other experts. The attorney may also need to have the scene of the accident and the product, itself photographed and/or videotaped before either is changed.
Most New Jersey products liability cases are vigorously contested by manufacturers and their insurance companies since recovery by a victim in one case may result in similar claims being asserted by other victims of the same product. The successful prosecution of a products liability lawsuit requires untold hours of work by a lawyer, by his staff, and the expenditure of substantial sums of money in the preparation of the case. Obtaining engineering and other studies and reports, filming or videotaping a product showing how it functions, obtaining working models or graphics of the product, taking depositions of witnesses, employees of the manufacturer, government agency representatives (often in various cities across the country) are examples of the type of work an experienced product liability attorney does in substantial cases.
A products liability case brought successfully on behalf of a victim not only can produce substantial money damages, but can have the desired social effect of causing legislation to be enacted establishing standards for safer products, causing manufacturers to make their products safer or even causing them to remove unsafe products from the market. Some recent examples of the cause of consumer safety being furthered by products liability litigation are the asbestos cases, the Bendectin cases, the Ford Pinto cases, swimming pool cases, cases involving various toys, flammable fabric cases, Dalkin Shield (IUD) cases, and many others.
A New Jersey personal injury law firm that handles a products liability matter must not only be well versed in the legal principles involved, but must be prepared to expend countless hours of time and substantial amounts of money in bringing such a case to a successful conclusion.
Many of the attorneys at Blume Forte have had substantial experience in and success with product liability cases. They belong to specialized, nationwide groups which share information about products such as defective automobiles, drugs, hot water heaters and machinery. Many lecture on product liability law, and regularly settle and try complex product liability cases.