New York Product Liability Laws
In many New York product liability claims, you will have to show that the company that designed, manufactured, or marketed the defective product was negligent. You must also prove that their negligence directly contributed to the injuries you suffered. In the context of product liability claims, negligence means that the company knew or should have known about the defect in question or the potential risks of using their product.
Proving negligence also requires showing that the company either failed to take reasonable steps to address the defect or didn’t properly warn users of the risks involved in using the products. Meeting this legal standard in a product liability lawsuit can be a challenge, but retaining an experienced product liability attorney can help you recover compensation for your losses.
However, some product liability cases fall under a different standard known as “strict liability.” In these cases, you do not have to prove fault for whoever was responsible for the defect. Instead, you must be able to show that the product was defective in some way, unreasonably dangerous, and caused your injury. You must also show that you used the product properly and did not alter it in any substantial way before use.
In addition, a manufacturer or another party may also potentially be held liable in New York due to a breach of warranty. This is when they fail to fulfill a claim that is either explicitly stated or implied. There may be an implicit claim, for example, that a product would not be dangerous to use.
A Long Island product liability lawyer can advise you on the best legal strategy to pursue based on the circumstances of your case.
Statute of Limitations for Product Liability Claims in NY
Under New York’s personal injury laws, you generally have three years from the date of your injury to file a product liability lawsuit against the designer, manufacturer, or marketer of a defective product. However, there are some product liability claims where the window to file a lawsuit is a little less clear.
For example, severe side effects from dangerous drugs sometimes take months or years to fully manifest. In cases like these, you may have three years from the date you discovered or reasonably should have discovered the injury to file a claim. Additionally, anyone injured under the age of 18 has three years from the date of their 18th birthday to file a defective products lawsuit.
If you have questions about whether or not your product liability claim falls within New York’s statute of limitations, contact a New York product liability attorney right away.
Types of Product Liability Claims
At Finz & Finz, P.C., our firm has the experience and resources to tackle many different kinds of product liability cases. Some of the claims we handle include:
- Children’s toys – Children are particularly vulnerable to injury because they may not recognize the risks involved with their toys. And because their bodies are still developing, any injuries they suffer may lead to lifelong injuries. Sadly, many young children sustain serious injuries after swallowing small parts of their toys. They may choke on these parts or ingest toxic substances used in the manufacturing process. Poisoning from lead paint on toys is an unfortunately common example of defective products.
- Auto parts – Cars, trucks, motorcycles, and other vehicles are made from thousands of small parts. No matter how seemingly insignificant, an issue with a single part can create serious safety problems. Any defective part related to the vehicle’s brakes, engine, transmission, steering system, or tires can cause catastrophic injuries.
- Dangerous drugs – Modern prescription drugs can work miracles. Unfortunately, there have also been numerous cases of companies putting drugs into the market with harmful hidden or unknown side effects, such as cancer-causing carcinogens. This often happens because drug companies rush through the approval and testing process without fully evaluating how their drug interacts with the human body.
- Medical devices – Along similar lines, any medical device should be rigorously scrutinized before being used on patients. This is especially true for any device implanted inside the body, as these devices are difficult to remove and can have drastic effects on users. However, even medical devices that meet initial testing standards can degrade over time inside a human body and cause dangerous side effects requiring removal or revision surgeries.
- Household cleaners and other chemicals – Cleaning agents and similar chemicals can cause major injuries if the product is inhaled, ingested, or touched.
- Household appliances – Gas grills, water heaters, and other appliances can explode or cause injuries in other ways if companies are not careful during the design and manufacturing process. The desire to make these appliances as cheap as possible frequently leads companies to take shortcuts that can be disastrous later on.
- Industrial equipment – Heavy machinery used in construction, industrial manufacturing, or other industries can seriously injure workers if key components fail.
How Can I Prove a Product Was Defective?
Proving that a product was defective can be difficult without sufficient evidence. One of the key jobs of a product liability lawyer is to gather evidence that can show how a product was defective and how the defect occurred. This often includes evidence such as:
- The product itself – In cases involving mechanical defects or manufacturing issues, sometimes the product itself can shed light on how the defect occurred. For example, it’s likely that a children’s toy containing lead paint was made in a batch. Even if you do not have the exact toy that injured your child, finding others like it for comparison can help prove the defect. In cases involving household appliances, equipment or machinery, having the product inspected by an expert engaged by your product liability attorney will often be required before a case can proceed.
- Company emails, memos, and other internal documents – In many product liability cases, it turns out that the company knew about possible defects and simply ignored or downplayed the potential dangers. A company’s internal records may reveal how a defective product made it to market.
- Medical records – Product liability claims involving defective drugs or medical devices often require patients’ medical records. These records can help show how the drug or device harmed patients, which can help illuminate how the drug or device is defective.
- Expert testimony – Medical experts, forensic accident investigators, and other experts are often called on in product liability cases to demonstrate how a product is defective.
Compensation Available in New York Product Liability Claims
Your injuries and financial losses from a defective product may be substantial, but an experienced product liability lawyer can help you seek compensation for what you have been through. With help from the right legal team, you could potentially recover compensation for:
- Lost income and diminished future earning capacity
- Medical bills and other costs related to your care, such as surgeries, doctor’s visits, physical therapy, the cost of transportation to your appointments, etc.
- Pain and suffering from your injuries, including emotional distress and lost quality of life
- Personal property damage, including the value of the defective product itself
- Punitive damages, available in rare cases involving especially outrageous or egregious conduct