How Do I Avoid Defective Products?
Posted December 13th, 2023.
United States law recognizes a duty of care that those who make and sell products have toward the end users. Vendors, manufacturers, and designers are responsible for making sure their products do not injure those who use them as intended. In legalese, that is known as a duty of care. When products do cause harm, however, consumers are allowed to file defective product lawsuits. This blog will detail why products may be defective and what the most common defects in New Jersey are. Don’t hesitate to contact a Camden County personal injury attorney after you’ve suffered an injury from a defective product.
What Makes a Product Defective?
When a product is faulty, there are three kinds of defects it can have: in design, manufacturing, and labeling.
Defectively designed products are dangerous regardless of how much care the manufacturer puts into them, like children’s toys that are small enough to be swallowed by their target audience. By contrast, defectively manufactured products would work safely, but for an error in the fabrication of it. Examples here include contaminated medications or food prepared or packaged near bacteria.
Finally, improperly labeled products lack sufficient or any warning about how to use the product as intended. The product may be safe to use with specific precautions, like a warning indicating that a medication cannot be mixed with alcohol, but in this instance, the vendor or manufacturer failed to properly label the product.
What Are Common Defective Products?
According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, defective products cost the country around $700 billion every year. Products that are often found at the heart of product liability lawsuits include medications, automobiles and automobile parts, appliances, and children’s products.
These can be ignition switches and gear shifts, children’s toys and furniture, water heaters, cleaning chemicals, pharmaceutical drugs, power tools, or medical devices.
How Do I Get Compensation After Being Injured by a Defective Product?
In New Jersey, the relevant statute for defective products is the New Jersey Product Liability Act (NJPLA). The NJPLA governs all claims for relief from damages caused by a faulty product, minus harm resulting from a breach of express warranty. The statute allows causes of action based on negligence, misrepresentation, implied warranty, and strict product liability.
You will be allowed to recover economic damages for medical costs and lost wages, as well as non-economic damages for pain and suffering. Moreover, the state of New Jersey allows you to seek punitive damages, intended only to punish the defendant for egregiously bad acts. Punitive damages cannot be more than $350,000, or five times however much compensatory damages were valued at.