If I suffer injuries due to a product, can I file a lawsuit for damages?

If you suffer an injury due to a defective product in Pennsylvania, you have the right to seek compensation.

Exploding phones, faulty car ignitions, dangerous medications: The headlines have been rife with news of defective products. People in Pennsylvania have suffered serious injuries as a result of either an inherent defect or downright negligence on the part of manufacturers or marketers.

So when this happens, what are your options for legal remedy? Pennsylvania has a process in place that enables victims to recover compensation for their damages.

Understanding types of defects

There are several ways a product could cause an injury. There may be a lack of information on the product, such as insufficient warnings or poor instructions regarding the product's use. A product that could overheat and cause burns should be labeled accordingly, for example.

Additionally, there may be a defect in the design of a product. A court would weigh whether or not a reasonable consumer could anticipate the dangers associated with a product. A child's scooter, for example, would have obvious dangers such as a child too young attempting to use it and falling. But if the scooter is designed for the handle to pop off easily, the design itself could be considered defective.

Lastly, there are defects in the manufacturing of the product. This means that as the item was being put made, something went awry.

Holding parties accountable

When it comes to manufacturing defects, the maker is typically considered to be strictly liable for the damages someone suffered. In other words, the plaintiff would not need to demonstrate that the manufacturer was somehow negligent. In other cases, such as failure to warn or a design flaw, there is often more work involved in illustrating what occurred.

For every product liability lawsuit in Pennsylvania, however, the following must be proven:

  • There was some type of defect or issue with the product and
  • The issue directly caused the victim's injuries

Consumers must also be aware of the way Pennsylvania treats negligence claims. In general the state uses a modified comparative fault process, which says that people who are more than half responsible for their injuries may not recover an award (unless the case involves drunk driving or an assault). This rule changes, however, and does not apply, in certain types of product liability cases.

File the claim in time

As with any personal injury lawsuit, there is a deadline by which these claims must be filed. Someone who is injured due to a defective product has two years from the date of the injury or the date the defect was discovered (if there is fraudulent concealment involved) to initiate the claim. Pennsylvania also has a statute of repose when it comes to real estate improvements, which states that no claim may be brought 12 years after the incident.

Due to the time constraints and the seriousness of the potential consequences to these injuries, it is imperative to act quickly following an incident. Anyone who has concerns should consult with a personal injury attorney in Pennsylvania.