Products that you use every day can kill or injure you because of a defective design, a manufacturing flaw, or because the manufacturer failed to warn you about certain product restrictions, like the amount of weight that a ladder or jack can hold, or other important information necessary to use the product safely. It is our job as experienced Massachusetts product liability lawyers to get you the compensation you deserve if you have experienced a personal injury or wrongful death due to a defective product.
The first area where a product can be defective is in its design. In order to prove a design defect case, an injured party must show that an alternative design existed at the time which is safer and at least as economically feasible as the original design. In addition, the new proposed product must retain the same measure of usefulness as was intended by the original design before changes were made. One of the most infamous design defect product liability cases in recent history involved the Ford Pinto. In 1972, a Ford Pinto exploded when it was struck from behind. Six years later, a similar accident occurred. Eventually, during lawsuits brought on behalf of the dead or severely injured victims, the parties found out that Ford not only knew that its gas tank design was defective and that the design flaw would result in many deaths, it knew that the problem could be fixed for $11 per car. Ford chose not to fix the problem, deciding that the cost of fixing it was greater than what it would have to pay in lawsuits from the deaths, injuries, and car damages it would likely incur.
Products can also be defective if a problem occurs during the course of manufacturing the product. This usually occurs in a particular batch of products made. It is often difficult to distinguish between a design defect and a manufacturing defect and that is where having an experienced and skilled products liability lawyer becomes extremely important.
Lastly, a product manufacturer, wholesaler, retailer or marketer must label their products adequately to warn consumers of any dangers that the product may pose. Failure to warn adequately is tantamount to not warning at all. In 1994, 79 year-old Stella Liebeck sued McDonald's citing that the company had a responsibility to warn her that her coffee was excessively hot and if spilled could cause severe burns. Although that case received enormous negative publicity, with the press suggesting that Ms. Liebeck collected millions of dollars for just a few burns, in reality, Ms. Liebeck suffered disabling and disfiguring burns, had hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical expenses, and received very little in actual damages after the jury award was reduced. What did happen, however, as a result of the “hot coffee” lawsuit, is that companies like McDonald’s were forced to be more careful, to either heat their coffee to a temperature that was not dangerously hot or to warn the consumer.
You have a right to expect that the products you use at home or on the job are safe. Tools, medical devices, automobiles or even toys are sometimes defective and dangerous. Manufacturers and distributors often fail to put real warnings on their products. When a manufacturer has cut corners and put defective products into the marketplace or failed to appropriate warning labels on a product and someone gets hurt, that manufacturer or distributor can and should be held accountable. The warning labels we are all familiar with on snowblowers, power saws, ladders, electric heaters, and other commonly used products are there because an injured consumer sued the manufacturer in order to make sure that others did not get injured by an inadequate warning of the dangers of using the product.
If you or a family member has been injured by a defective or dangerous product, call KJC Law Firm for a free consultation. We will tell you whether you have a case and help you get compensation for your injuries. The product liability lawyers at KJC Law Firm have more than 90 years of experience litigating major cases, including numerous multimillion dollar product liability cases. We have the resources to investigate your claim, hire the necessary experts, and get you the compensation that you deserve. KJC Law Firm represents injured people from communities all across Massachusetts, including the Greater Boston area, Cambridge, MetroWest, Cape Cod, Fall River, Lowell, Worcester and Springfield.