Baby Its Cold Outside. So What Do You Do If The Space Heater Blows Up And Injures Someone ? A Product Liability Claim.

Posted By Michael R. Varble || 8-Jan-2014

Baby it is really cold outside. The Polar Vortex has the Northeast in its grips and almost everyone is using additional sources of heat in their homes. Everyone knows that these devices can be dangerous and space heaters and heating system defects are frequently litigated in the area of product liability claims. So what do you do if your space heater blows up and injures you or someone you love ? Call us and lets talk about your rights in the context of a product liability claim.

What are the basics of a product liability claim ? Well, a manufacturer, wholesaler, distributor, retailer, processor of materials, and a maker of component parts that sells a product in a defective condition is liable for injury that results from use of the product when the product is used for its intended purpose or a reasonably foreseeable purpose. A product is defective if it is not reasonably safe if the product is so likely to be harmful to persons or property if a reasonable prudent person who had actual knowledge of the products potential for producing injury would conclude that the product should not have been marketed in the subject condition.

A product may be defective as a result of a manufacturing flaw, a defective design, inadequate warnings or inadequate instructions. The burden of proving that a product was defective and that the defect was a substantial factor in causing a plaintiff's injuries is the plaintiff's burden. So what does this mean in English ? It means that we as your attorneys need to find an engineer that has education, training and experience with the product that injured you or your family member to evaluate the product and be willing to testify that the product was defectively manufactured, defectively designed, had inadequate warnings or had inadequate instructions. We then had to be able to have that engineer testify that that the defect was a substantial factor in causing your or your family member's injury.

A jury does not need to find that a defendant in a product liability case knew or should have known of the product's potential for causing injury in order for the jury to determine that a product was not reasonably safe. The jury only needs to find that a reasonable person who did in fact know of the products potential for causing injury would have concluded that the product should not have been marketed in the condition it was in when it caused the injury to you or your family member.

A product is also considered to be defectively designed if a reasonably person knew or should have known of the product's potential for causing for causing injury and of a feasible alternative and the person would have concluded that the product should not have been marketed in that condition. Whether the product should have been marketed in the subject condition depends on a balancing of the risks involved in using the product against the products usefulness and cost, and the risks, usefulness and costs of the alternative design as compared to the product that the defendant did market.

One of the reasons that you see big warning labels on products is that a manufacturer of a product that is reasonably certain that a product will be harmful if used in a way that the manufacturer should reasonably foresee is under a duty to use reasonable care to give adequate warning of any danger known to it or which in the use of reasonable care it should have known and not discover. Reasonable care - which is what a jury gets to decide - is defined as that degree of care which a reasonably prudent person would use under the same circumstances. As a result of this definition and the fact that the jury gets to decide if a manufacturer or other person referenced above used reasonable care, you and every one else who purchases something that may be a little bit dangerous has neon, extra large print warning labels on it. I always think of the air bag warnings on cars when thinking about this issue. This standard referenced in this paragraph also applies to instructions for products as well.

A jury will also need to consider if the defect was a substantial factor in causing your injury. The jury will also consider if your conduct in the use of the product contributed to your injury as well. I would not suggest juggling chain saws and thinking that you could file a product liability claim against one of the manufacturers, if you catch my drift.

So in summary, if you or a family member have been injured as the result of a malfunction or a product, give us a call for a free consultation. While I hope no one who follows us or reads these blog posts has to be called a plaintiff, I know it will happen. If it does happen to you, give us a call so we can put our more than 150 years of litigation experience to work for you. We appear in all of the Courts of the Hudson Valley on a regular basis, we are on trial on a regular basis and we will fight for you. Give us a call at 1.888.900.6204 and put us to work.

Categories: Personal Injury

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