How One Law Protects Negligent Manufacturers
June 14, 2019
Americans expect that government agencies such as the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) protect us from dangerous and defective products, but that doesn’t always happen. Unfortunately, there is a law that protects manufacturers of dangerous products and increases the chances of injury or even death for those who use them.
Section 6(b) of the Consumer Product Safety Act can protect manufacturers at the expense of consumer safety. The law was enacted in response to complaints that a company’s reputation could suffer unfairly if it didn’t have a chance to review safety concerns before they were made public. The law requires the CPSC in most cases to get permission from manufacturers before revealing their identities, even when a product is linked to injuries and deaths. And even when the CPSC announces an alert or recall, companies can often restrict the information released.
Take the example of the Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play Sleeper and other similar products made by the company Kids II. According to Consumer Reports, while it was long known that these products endangered children, the law kept parents from knowing about potentially lethal problems. As a result, according to government data, there have been 19 infant fatalities linked to these items, and the sleepers continued to be used for years before a recall.
What is Pennsylvania Law?
According to Pennsylvania law, when people are harmed by defective products, they may be awarded “damages” from the responsible party in a product liability case. Anyone in the chain of distribution of a defective product may be held responsible, including the manufacturer, the manufacturer of component parts, the wholesaler, the distributor and the retail store which sold the product.
However, the rules relating to product liability are complex, so if you or a loved one has been harmed by a defective product, it’s essential to have help and guidance from an experienced product liability lawyer or you may never receive the compensation you are entitled to.
The skilled and experienced product liability attorneys at Wapner Newman are committed to giving your case individual attention and getting the best settlement possible. We have helped hundreds of clients through the years to secure the compensation they need to reclaim their future through our thorough and creative investigative legal solutions. We offer a free consultation to examine your situation and show you how we can help.
Don’t delay. Please contact Wapner Newman today to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced product liability lawyers and find out if you have a viable claim.
What is general product liability law?
A negligence claim against a manufacturer can be brought because the manufacturer has a duty to carefully design, produce or market its products. A negligence claim could be brought against a seller if it knew or had reason to know that the product was defective or dangerous and sold it anyway.
Pennsylvania recognizes three categories where product liability may occur:
1) Manufacturing defect – when the product does not conform to the specifications due to defects that occur in the manufacturing process and which may involve poor quality materials or workmanship.
2) Design Defects – when the design is flawed and the product is unreasonably dangerous even though it is carefully manufactured.
3) Failure to Warn – when a product has a non-obvious danger that could be avoided through adequate warnings to the user.
There is a statute of limitations of two years from the date of injury to file for personal injury, wrongful death, and personal property damage or destruction unless there is “fraudulent concealment” which kept the defect from being discovered at the time of injury.
Proving why a product caused injury, that it was because the manufacturer did something wrong, or that the seller knew the product was defective, can be difficult. The principle of “strict liability” makes it easier for an injured person to recover damages.
Under strict liability, the plaintiff does not need to prove that the defendant was negligent or had intent to injure. It must only be shown that the product was defective, that the defect made the product unreasonably dangerous, and that the defect caused injury.
What damages can I receive?
In Pennsylvania, you may be entitled to both economic damages and non-economic damages.
- Economic damages are expenses which can be objectively calculated, such as medical, therapy, equipment, and rehabilitation costs, lost income, property damage, and funeral and burial costs.
- Non-economic damages may include pain and suffering, the loss of enjoyment of life, and the loss of a marital relationship (consortium).
In rare cases, victims may be awarded “punitive damages,” designed to punish defendants who have behaved recklessly.
Contact Us for a Free Consultation
If you or a loved one has suffered from a defective product, it is essential to enlist the help of an attorney familiar with product liability and personal injury law.
The seasoned and compassionate Pennsylvania product liability attorneys at Wapner Newman know how devastating serious injuries or wrongful death caused by a negligently manufactured product can be. We offer a free consultation to examine the facts of your situation and determine whether you do have a viable claim. Our unique legal approach helps ensure that no stone is left unturned as we investigate and document every detail relating to your claim and do everything possible to get you the settlement you deserve.
Don’t delay. Contact us online or call our offices today for your free consultation.