Defective Product
Halt | January 27, 2022 | 0 Comments

Can You Sue for Negligence in NY If You Are Injured By a Defective Product?

New York law requires all manufacturers and retailers to ensure that, to the extent possible, the products that they sell or distribute are not defective in any way. To the extent that certain products are ‘inherently dangerous’ — think of power tools — the duty of the manufacturer or retailer is to give adequate warning to the consumer of all of the possible adverse effects or other risks associated with the product.

If you or a loved one has been injured because of a product that you believe was improperly designed, improperly manufactured, or not clearly labeled with warnings, you could have an injury case.

Evidence for Defective Product Cases in NY

If you still have the product that caused the harm, do not throw it away, as the product will be critical evidence in your case. The same is true for the original packaging of the product, especially if you pursue a ‘failure to warn claim.

Substantive Law of ‘Defective Products’ in NY

defective product lawyer

All designers, manufacturers, distributors, and retailers of all products sold in New York have a duty to ensure that their products are not dangerous or defective in any way as a result of their design or manufacturing.

In addition, if the product in question is inherently dangerous under certain circumstances (think of power tools or certain prescription medications), then the designer, manufacturer, distributor, or retailer has a duty to provide a clear and adequate warning to the consumer of the product. This warning must contain all of the possible dangers or harms that the consumer might experience and any instructions necessary to avoid certain injuries.

An important part of the analysis of your case will be in identifying just which person or persons in the long chain of product design, manufacture, distribution, and retailing failed in their duty, under New York law, to ensure that your product would be safe.

Procedural Law Affecting Defective Product Claims in NY

In addition to knowing what facts you must prove to succeed in your defective product claim, your Westchester, NY personal injury lawyer also know ‘how’ to bring your case, and ‘when’ and ‘where’ to take action.

This part of your case can be just as important as being able to prove to the court that the product that caused your injuries was defectively designed, manufactured, or was sold to you without providing adequate warnings about its possible adverse effects or harms.

  • “How” – All defective products lawsuits in New York are started by the filing, with the proper court, of a written summary that outlines all the relevant elements of your claim, including identification of all potential defendants, and a summary description of all of your compensable damages (to include medical and other out-of-pocket expenses, lost income because of inability to work, and damages related to pain, suffering, or emotional distress). This document is called a “complaint.”
  • “When” – In New York, you must file your complaint within three years of the date of the event that the defective product caused your injury or harm. Do not sit on your rights! The statute of limitations is a hard and fast rule that can block you from filing a claim after three years.
  • “Where” – Your complaint must be filed with an appropriate trial-level court located in the county in New York where the defendants’ harmful actions occurred, or where the harm was experienced. Depending upon the circumstances of your case, determining ‘where’ the harm occurred and what court to file in can be a complex matter.

In New York, a defective products lawsuit usually proceeds as follows:

Filing of the Complaint

Prepare for filing a complaint

This step may, depending upon the circumstances, require weeks of advance preparation, while your attorney analyzes the facts, gathers important evidence, identifies all potential defendants, ascertains all relevant procedural requirements, drafts the complaint, reviews it with you for accuracy and completeness, and, finally, makes arrangements for serving each defendant with a copy.

Preliminary Motions

Defendants in a defective products lawsuit will often respond to a complaint by saying variations of, “You weren’t really hurt,” or, “If you were hurt, it wasn’t because of anything I had to do with this product.” Less frequently, such defendants will say, “Even if you were hurt, and even if I had something to do with the product (which I deny!), you filed your complaint in the wrong court,” or even, “You didn’t file it on time.” All such arguments are resolved through preliminary motions, which the court must decide before you can begin “Discovery.”

Discovery

“Discovery” is the process by which each party finds out what issues need to be decided by a judge or jury. Discovery can take a long time because it involves both written exchanges of information, and ‘depositions.’ In the deposition phase, each attorney gets to question the other party, or any potential witness, under oath, and thus find out what each such person will say, when and if the trial is held. Discovery reduces the amount of time a court must devote to a trial by eliminating undisputed issues. It also encourages settlement because it causes each side to recognize the strengths and weaknesses of their evidence. In the case of a defective product, many, in not most, of the witnesses will be experts in the fields of product design, manufacture, or marketing, or economic damages experts rather than eyewitnesses who saw the injury.

Settlement

The vast majority of defective product lawsuits settle before trial and even before the end of the discovery process. If and when your defendant(s) make an offer of settlement, your attorney will have lots of comparative data to help you evaluate whether such offer is fair and just.

Trial

If the parties cannot settle, a trial will be held. A defective products trial may take weeks, depending upon the circumstances, and could require the live testimony, in court, of multiple facts and ‘expert’ witnesses. Defective products trials are very expensive, but your share of these expenses will be advanced by us until there is a settlement or an award.

What Is an Appeal

Appeal(s)

If your case goes to trial, and you secure an award, the defendant may have a right to appeal. This may delay your ultimate receipt of the compensation to which you are otherwise entitled, because of your injuries.

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