How to Prove a Product is Defective

How to Prove a Product is Defective

Proving a product liability can be difficult and technical. If a product injured you, seek help from a product liability lawyer in New Jersey who can evaluate your rights.

In New York, a company that manufactures, designs, or sells a defective product is subject to strict liability. This means a plaintiff does not need to prove negligence to prevail in a product liability claim. The types of defects fall into three categories:

  1. Warning Defects
  2. Manufacturing Defects; and
  3. Design Defects

Each type of defect outlined above has different elements, but there are essentially four elements a plaintiff must prove:

  1. That the manner of use of the product was reasonably foreseeable
  2. That the defendant in the case was the designer, manufacturer, distributor, or seller of the product in question
  3. That the defect existed when the product was transferred to the plaintiff; and
  4. That there was harm to the plaintiff from the defect that existed.

Reasonable Foreseeability

In New York, the courts require a seller, manufacturer, designer, or distributor to consider how consumers will use their products. Suppose the consumer of a product uses the product in a way that the purveyor of the product should reasonably have foreseen and that use causes injury. In that case, the purveyor of the goods may be held strictly liable. This defect could be how the product was designed or a lack of proper labeling.

Typically, for a party to be responsible for the injuries of others, a plaintiff must show that a defendant was in some way negligent and that the negligence was the cause of the harm to a plaintiff. However, some NYC  laws allow a defendant to be liable regardless of wrongdoing on their part. The plaintiff does not need a showing of negligence for the defendant to be liable for damages. NYC leaves the jury to decide whether a defendant took reasonable precautions given the reasonably foreseeable users of the product.

Defenses to Product Liability Claims

There are certain showings a defendant may make which will preclude a product liability claim, including:

  • A plaintiff using the product in question in a manner that was not reasonably foreseeable
  • Alteration of the product after transfer to the consumer/plaintiff
  • A finding that the defendant was not the proximate cause of the injury
  • The defendant is not the manufacturer, designer, distributor, or seller of the product
  • The cause of injury was negligence on the part of the consumer/plaintiff

Keep in mind that it isn’t simply winning or losing under New York law. The jury may find that the plaintiff were each partially liable and award damages accordingly. This means the plaintiff may receive a higher or lower split of responsibility for the injury resulting in more or fewer damages awarded depending on the findings of the jury.

Call Us Today to Speak With an Experienced New York Product Defect Lawyer

Product liability laws are complex. With a litany of exceptions and elements to consider, it is strongly recommended you contact an experienced litigator about your product defect claim. With decades of experience, Vacardipane & Pinnisi, PC can handle product liability claims of any kind. Let us help you win your product defect case today. Call (866) 643-0866 or contact us online to schedule a consultation and get started on the path to success.

About Jeffrey W. Varcadipane

Jeffrey W. Varcadipane is a Managing Partner at Varcadipane & Pinnisi PC and practices in both New York and New Jersey. He handles a variety of matters including civil and commercial litigation, appellate practice, real estate and business law.

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