Product Liability Lawyers in Philadelphia
Product Liability Lawyers at Kane & Silverman put over 25 years of experience into every case. When a manufacturer, wholesale distributor, or pharmaceutical company markets a product, they are required by law to ensure that the product be safe for its intended, or even unintended, use. In addition, they need to warn those who may come in contact with their product of potential dangers and how to safely use the product. They also have an obligation to act proactively to remove from commerce those items that are unsafe.
Our product liability lawyers in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Lancaster, Pennsylvania and Marlton, New Jersey represent individuals who have been injured by consumer products, machinery, other products and even prescription drugs in those cases where responsible parties have failed to meet the standards require by law with respect to product safety. Such cases have arisen from product defects involving the following, for example:
- Lawn mowers
- Power tools and appliances
- Children’s toys
- Motor Vehicles
- Sports Equipment
- Lead Paint
- Breast Implants
Defective Product Liability Lawyers
In product liability cases, there are many different legal theories that can provide a basis for your recovery. For example, unlike most personal injury cases where liability is founded on the theory that the defendant failed to provide a reasonable degree of care under the circumstances, product liability claims may be founded not only on negligence, but sometime on the basis of strict liability, which is essentially liability without regard to fault, or under a breach of express or implied warranty theory.
Airbag Failure – Dual frontal air bags have been mandatory for all cars and trucks not only manufactured but also sold in the United States since 1999. And while an airbag is designed and manufactured to save lives, it can often do the opposite and cause damage if deployed or installed improperly or there there was a defect in the design or assembly. While the most common injuries suffered in an airbag failure or defective airbag are neck, back and spinal cord injuries, you can also suffer facial injuries, bruising, eye damage, skin abrasions and fractures.
The most common causes of defective airbags that lead to some form of litigation include the following:
- failure to deploy
- late deployment
- overpowering deployment
- inadvertent deployment
Car Seats – You would think that most tested and most safe products sold in the United States would be products designed and manufactured for infants and small children. Unfortunately, this is not the case as the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission recalled upward of 4 million infant car seats in 2003 alone.
Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of unintentional death in children ages 14 years and younger in the United States so it is no secret just how important a car seat is. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration automobile accidents are the single largest cause of death among children between the ages of five and eight. A car seat may result in a dangerous or defective product because of the following reasons:
- sudden accidental release
- improper construction
- defective harness
- failure to meet safety requirements
- separation from base to shell
- made of flammable materials
- difficultly opening latches
- faulty or weakly made straps
Seat Belts - According to a 10 year study by Donna Glass of the National Center for Statistics and National Highway Safety Administration, seat belts saved the lives of over 10,000-12,500 people each year in the United States from 1996 to 2001. With that said a defective seat belt can have the opposite effect and even cost the lives of people. A seat belt failure is generally the cause of poor design, manufacturing, installation or some combination of the three.
A seat belt is designed to keep you securely in your seat during an accident in order to minimize contact with the windshield, dash board, steering wheel, side window and roof. When a seat belt fails to work correctly, it can lead to internal bleeding, spinal cord injury, brain trauma, internal organ laceration, and broken bones amongst other injuries. Seat belt failure is generally caused by one or more of the following:
- latch issues
- defective material
- retractor failure
- poor seat belt geometry
- sensor failure
- poor design
Dangerous Toys – The Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that 235,000 children were treated in emergency rooms across the country because of defective toy related injuries in 2008.
Of the millions of domestic and foreign-made toys that are sold to children and adults throughout the United States most are considered safe but there are those few that are manufactured in such a way that they could cause an injury or illness to those using them. In some instances a toy can be considered safe with no recall issued and still end up causing illness or injury. The most common dangerous toys include the following:
- toys missing warning labels
- toys with no instructions
- toys not listing age recommendation
- toys with projectile pieces
- toys made of toxic materials like lead
- toys that require an electrical plug
- toys with small pieces
- toys made of flammable materials
Even the most well known name brand manufacturers who sell toys in the United States like Fisher-Price®, Disney®, Mattel®, and Toys ‘R’ Us® have all had a dangerous product recalled whether it was a puzzle, stuffed animal, video game, or doll. A toy can be recalled if it is believed to easily lead to choking, strangulation, laceration, fires, and explosions. Before purchasing a toy that you may think be dangerous you can visit several private agency websites that test toys for safety including HealthyStuff.org, GoodGuide, US PIRG, and W.A.T.C.H.
Defective Cribs – Just because infant, baby and children products are highly regulated, highly tested and highly scrutinized, there are still thousand of products recalled and a number of product liability lawsuit that come to fruition each and every year in the United States. As of 2011 no drop side crib is allowed to be sold or re-sold in the United States. Common drop side crib manufacturers, many of which have had products recalled, include:
- Child Craft
- Million Dollar Baby
- Pottery Barn
Entrapment is one of the most common ways babies are injured because the vertical bars on the sides of the crib are too far apart an infant can trap a body part in between or even worse fall through. Dangerous and defective cribs fall under product liability laws, which govern the responsibility of designers, manufacturers, marketers, sellers and re-sellers to create and sell a safe product.
Defective Stroller – On October 11, 2011, BOB Trailers recalled more than 438,000 single and double jogging strollers sold in the United States and Canada due to a chocking hazard. On July 28, 2011, approximately 10,000 Phil & Ted’s Explorer 3-wheel strollers and Hammerhead 4-wheel strollers were recalled because of faulty brakes. One June 24, 2011 roughly 20,000 Britax B-Nimble strollers were recalled due to faulty brakes. On May 27, 2011, more than 2,000 Zooper strollers were recalled because of inadequate spacing between the stroller seat and the snack tray bar. On Feb. 23, 2011 nearly 337,000 BOB jogging strollers were recalled because of a drawstring that posed a potential strangulation threat.
The list goes on and on but you realize that each year, hundreds of thousands of strollers are recalled because of manufacturing or design defects that cause anything from minor bumps and bruises to more serious injuries like choking, head injury, spinal cord injury, fractures, and finger amputation. These defects include the following:
- wheel defects
- collapse threats
- loose parts
- defective designs
- poor materials
- handlebar defects
- inadequate spacing
According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology, polyurethane foam in furniture is responsible for 30% of United States deaths from fires each year. What makes matters worse is the industry does not self-regulate accordingly and has even fought attempts to require different materials and flame retardant treatments to make their product safer.
While consumers have been kept in the dark about the dangerous of this foam, the federal government and the furniture industry has been well aware of its dangers for decades. I am sure you are asking yourself just why this polyurethane foam is so dangerous? The answer is at a normal state it is not at all dangerous. But, when it catches fire it emits a gas called hydrogen cyanide, which is poisonous to humans and is the same agent used in gas chambers employed in judicial execution in the United States to this day.
If the hydrogen cyanide does not kill you the polyurethane cushioning can create an event firefighters refer to as a flashover in less than two minutes. A flashover, which is the point at which all consumable material is engulfed by flame, will commonly reach upwards of 2,000°F.
It does not take a genius to know that a heater or electric blanket pose fire and thermal burn hazards. In fact they cause thousands of injuries and fires each year in the United States. An electric blanket is nothing more than a heating coil wrapped in insulated wired inside a blanket that is made to heat up when plugged into an electrical outlet. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has recalled a variety of blankets over the past few years because of the following issues:
- faulty temperature controllers
- plugs detaching leading to overheating
- loose connections that increase risk of short circuit
- folding blanket causing overheating
According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, more than 700,000 primary hip and knee replacement surgeries are performed in the United States each year. One of the most successful joint surgeries performed, operations have a productivity rate of 90 percent and can last at least fifteen years in 95 percent of all ideal candidates.
Common reasons for hip surgery include rheumatoid arthritis, osteonecrosis, hip injuries and bone tumors. In many cases complete hip replacement is a last resort if walking aids, exercising, physical therapy and medications fail to do the job. The surgery itself lasts between two and four hours and physical therapy begins immediately after the surgery. On day one you will meet with a respiratory therapist to check your lungs following the surgery. You will then meet with a physical therapist to learn how to sit up, bend over, and walk correctly.
In August 2010, DePuy Orthopedics, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, announced a global recall of the ASR XL Acetabular System, which includes the DePuy ASR Hip Resurfacing System. Product defects of the total hip replacement system, which has been available in the United States since July of 2003, include component loosening and misalignment, dislocation of the elements, infection, fracture of the bone, metal sensitivity, and pain.
It is estimated that the Zimmer Durom Cup was used in roughly 13,000 hip replacement surgeries throughout the United States between 2005 and 2008. Research indicated between a 5% and 8% rate of failure involving an improper bond between the patient’s bone and the cup itself. Complications were brought to the public’s attention in April of 2008 when Dr. Dorr, a highly respected Californian orthopedic surgeon wrote a letter to the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons warning about the potential dangers.
In January 2008 Stryker Corp recalled the Trident Acetabular PSL Cup and the Trident Hemispherical Cup following a discovery by the United Stated Food and Drug Administration of substandard, unsanitary conditions at two manufacturing plants as well as multiple reports of pain and injuries by patients. The first manufacturing facility located in Mahwah, New Jersey contained staphylococcus bacteria and other disease causing germs. A second facility, located in Cork, Ireland, had problems with product testing procedures.
For those of you that don’t know, a mass tort case is a tort lawsuit that is brought up by multiple victims against a single defendant, who acted negligently, for an injury or serious of injuries related to a single product, practice or service. Two of the more common tort claims involve consumer product claims and pharmaceutical claims.
When multiple plaintiffs are suing one defendant in a single lawsuit, the plaintiffs’ lawyer or lawyers must ask the court for permission to file a mass tort action. If granted the judge will order that notice of the lawsuit be published in newspapers or television commercials to make others who may have used the same product aware that they can join the lawsuit.
Other mass tort claims include:
- consumer product
- defective design
- failure to warm
- breach of warranty
- equal employment
Frequently Asked Questions
- Who is responsible when a product causes an injury?
A manufacturer, wholesaler and/or seller may be responsible if the defective product causes injury.
- What compensation can I expect to receive?
Depending on the strength of the case, you may be able to recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering. In certain situations when a defendant acts maliciously or is deemed grossly negligent you may be able to recover punitive damages.
- What is an implied warrant?
An implied warranty is established by state law and applies to most products sold within state lines. The warranties state that products have to be fit and safe for its intended purpose.
- What is failure to warn?
A failure to warn is the claim that the manufacturer did not provide adequate directions for the safe use of a product. This also includes inadequate warning against dangers inherent in product misuse.
- What are economic damages?
Economic damages include medical care, hospitalization and treatment, loss of income or earning capacity, services provided by family members for free, the cost of hiring others to perform normal household duties, and the loss of the injured person’s services to his or her spouse.