Information for Those Injured By Dangerous Products in Massachusetts
I came across yet another fantastically informative article over at the website of CBS Channel 3 of Springfield, MA. This article gives you some great inf0rmation if you have been injured by a product in Massachusetts:
Q. What is Products Liability?
A. "Products Liability" is a term which describes the law of negligence and breach of warranty as it applies to manufacturers, repairers, sellers and suppliers of numerous types of products. Essentially, Product Liability law allows someone who has been injured or suffered property damage as a result of a dangerous and defective product to recover monetary damages so long as the injury or damage is causally related to the product's defect.
Q. What obligations or duties do manufacturers of products have?
A. A manufacturer of a product is under a duty to use reasonable care in designing and manufacturing its product. A manufacturer is also under a duty of care to inspect a product and discover and eliminate any defects before it leaves the manufacturer's possession, custody and/or control. However, this duty is one of reasonable care and not of absolute perfection.
Q. Can a product be defective by virtue of its design?
A. Yes. The standard of care of a manufacturer in designing its product has been expressed as follows:
"A manufacturer is under a duty to design a machine or a product with reasonable care and is held to the standard of an ordinary reasonably prudent designer in like circumstances. The product must be designed with reasonable care to eliminate avoidable dangers and it is therefore incumbent on the designer to anticipate the environment in which the product will be used and to design against the reasonably foreseeable risks attending the products used in that environment."
Q. Can a product be defective by virtue of the manufacturer's failure to properly warn of the product's dangers or hazards?
A. Yes. However, the duty to warn is not predicated upon defects in its manufacture. A product may be manufactured or assembled in a defect-free condition but a duty to warn may exist. A manufacturer's duty to warn purchasers and expected users of its product refers to latent dangers in the normal and intended use of the product. The duty to warn is dependent upon the manufacturer's superior knowledge as to the foreseeable dangers to one with less knowledge and once the warning is given it must be complete and adequate.
Q. Are there products out there that are more likely to cause injury than others?
A. Yes and no. Obviously a huge printing press which is improperly guarded (can cause very serious bodily injury). However, it is not only big heavy machinery that can result in serious bodily injury to someone. Almost any product if designed, manufactured, distributed and sold improperly and/or in a defective condition can result in injury. This could include things as huge as a 747 jet airplane, and as small as a pill that one takes to treat a medical condition. One needs to look on a case-by-case basis to precisely what the mechanism of injury was and then analyze it to determine if perhaps the manufacturer could have taken better steps to protect and guard the end user from known risks and dangers associated with the use of the product.
Q. What should I do if I think I have been injured or damaged by a product?
A. Obviously the first thing is to get prompt and adequate medical attention. As for protection of your legal interests, try to see to it that the product that you feel caused your injury is kept in a secure and unaltered state until legal counsel and/or expert witnesses can examine the product.
Q. How do I make sure that the product I feel hurt me remains secure?
A. Contact legal counsel as soon as possible so that an investigation can be performed to take whatever steps necessary to examine and secure the product.
Q. What kind of damages can I recover from a Product Liability action?
A. Your damages recoverable in a Product Liability action are essentially the same as any other personal injury action. These would include compensation for medical expenses, compensation for your lost time from work and/or the impairment of your earning capacity on into the future, compensation for pain and suffering both physical and emotional, compensation for any scarring and/or disfigurement that you may have as a result of your injury, compensation for a loss of function and/or disability to a body part as a result of your injury, and other damages that may be particularly suitable to your case.
Q. Are loss of consortium damages also available in Product Liability actions.
A. Yes, like other personal injury cases, loss of consortium damages are recoverable when permitted by law. These damages may be brought by a spouse or child or perhaps a parent for loss of services and companionship due to the injured party's disabilities.
Q. Are Product Liability cases complicated?
A. Typically they are requiring expert analysis in order to prove any alleged defects associated with the product.