Products Liability—Dangerous and Defective Products
Thousands of consumers are seriously injured or killed every year by dangerous and defective products. If the manufacturers or distributors of these products took additional steps to ensure consumer safety, many of these injuries could haven been avoided. These products may include: dangerous toys, industrial machinery and equipment, improperly designed consumer products, automobiles and pharmaceutical drugs.
When someone has been injured while using a product, even if human error is partially to blame, they may still be entitled to monetary compensation for their injuries. For example, manufactures must take into consideration common human error and the appliance or machine may not have been designed to function safely in the event of human error. Or, the product was not labeled with sufficient instructions or warnings about necessary precautions because the manufacturer failed to do so.
The law protects consumers and workers from these types of products by permitting them to sue manufacturers or other entities responsible for the defective machinery or appliance and recover monetary damages for their injuries.
Worker’s Compensation and Products Liability
An employee who has been injured by defective machinery at work is entitled to file a Workers Compensation claim with his or her employer. The worker is entitled to receive scheduled medical and wage benefits. However, these awards do not provide for an injured worker’s pain and suffering and the devastating and long-lasting effects of the accident. Although in New York, a worker cannot sue his or her employer directly, they can bring lawsuits against anyone involved in the chain that gets the machinery to the factory. These other entities can include the manufacturer, the wholesaler, distributor, retailer and even the companies that produce the individual component parts for the machine.
The end result is that a worker can try to receive full and fair compensation for injuries and losses caused by defective machinery and, at the same time, an injured worker continues to receive the limited benefit available through Workers Compensation.
If You Have Been Injured As a Result of a Product, Appliance, or Machine Accident
1. Consult an experienced attorney
There are legal remedies available to those who have been injured at work or at home because of defective products. If you or someone you know has been injured, you should consult with an attorney with experience in the field of products liability.
2. Obtain the manufacturer and the names of any witnesses to the accident
The most important information necessary to commence a claim under products liability is the name of the manufacturer of the product that injured you. If possible, have pictures taken of the machine or appliance. Write down the name of the manufacturer, the model number, the serial number, the names of any service companies or distributors and the content of any instructions or warnings. If practicable, save the machine and appliance and any documentation that came with it. Obtain the names, addresses and phone numbers of witnesses.
3. Avoid statements about the accident
Do not speak or give any written statements to any investigator. Of course, you should always cooperate fully with the Police. However, you should avoid giving specific statements to anybody about the circumstances of the accident. When speaking to doctors and other medical personnel, discuss the accident in general terms. Refer all other more specific questions to your lawyers, who are trained and experienced in protecting your rights.