Protecting Your Rights When You’ve Been Injured by a Defective Product
As we discussed in an earlier blog, there are three different types of product liability claims in New Jersey: lawsuits based on defective design, on defective manufacturing and on defective marketing. The New Jersey Product Liability Act (NJPLA), however, provides the exclusive cause of action for New Jersey consumers who are hurt in an accident involving a dangerous or defective product. Before passage of the NJPLA, an injured person could use a number of legal theories to pursue damages: negligence, breach of implied warranty, misrepresentation and violation of the Consumer Fraud Act were typical allegations. Under the NJPLA, all product-based claims fall within a strict liability framework.
What is Strict Liability?
Under the concept of strict liability, there is no requirement that an injured person prove negligence. Negligence requires a showing that the wrongdoer failed to use reasonable care, which caused an accident, resulting in actual losses. In a strict liability claim under the NJPLA, an injured person must only show that the product was not reasonably safe or fit for its intended purpose. That may be shown in three ways:
- The product contained a manufacturing defect
- The product failed to contain adequate warnings or instructions (the so-called “failure to warn” claim)
- The product was defectively designed
To prevail on a claim alleging defective manufacture of a product, the plaintiff must only prove that the product “deviated from the design specifications of the manufacturer” or from what are considered identical units produced according to the same standards or specifications.
To win on the failure-to-warn claim, an injured person must demonstrate that the product did not include warnings or instructions that “a reasonably prudent person…would have provided in the same or similar circumstances.”
To succeed with a defective design claim, an injured person must show that the risks of the product as designed outweighed its usefulness or that the product could have been designed in a way that minimized or eliminated the risk of harm.
Contact Attorney Howard D. Popper
To learn your options after suffering an injury due to a dangerous or defective product, contact our office online or call attorney Popper at 973-993-8787. We have offices in Morristown and Newton, but will come to your home or the hospital, if necessary. There is no charge for your first consultation.
We handle all personal injury claims on a contingency basis. You won’t be charged any legal fees unless attorney Popper recovers compensation for your losses.