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PA & NJ Dangerous Products Injury Law - What If Consumers Were Partially Responsible For Their Injuries?

When consumers are hurt by dangerous products in Pennsylvania or New Jersey, they may file lawsuits against the manufacturers to recover financial damages.  As we discussed in our legal articles relating to dangerous or recalled consumer products, consumers must prove that the products were defective in order to prevail.  There are 3 ways a product can be defective.  First, it may have a defective design.  Second, it may have a manufacturing defect.  Lastly, it may not have proper instructions or warning.  For a detailed discussion of how products are defective, see Pennsylvania Products Liability Law (PART 1).

Sometimes, manufacturers may argue that consumers are responsible for their injuries when they are injured by their products.  Can the consumers still prevail in their PA and NJ dangerous products lawsuits?  The rest of this article will address this issue.

What If Consumers Also Responsible For Their Injuries?

Companies that manufacture and market products are obligated to consider how their products will likely be used by reasonable, average consumers.  These companies must anticipate that consumers will not always use a particular product in the exact correct fashion. 

For example, the manufacturer of a large paper cutting machine failed to place a guard over the rotating cutter.  The worker who gets injured there because he tried quickly to reach into that area of the machine to clear a jam or the worker who accidentally slips on the factory floor and gets his hand injured there may bring a product liability claim against the manufacturer.  The manufacturer may argue that it did not intend workers to place their hands in that area of the machine.  The manufacturer may also argue that it was the worker's fault for reaching into the machine or slipping on the floor.

However, product liability law requires that the manufacturer anticipate these kinds of injuries.  It is certainly reasonable to expect that workers might be injured by these occurrences.  Thus, although the manufacturer will argue that the injury was the worker's own fault, the worker will indeed have a product liability claim against the manufacturer.  In many states, the jury deciding the case will only be allowed to consider whether the paper cutting machine itself was defective.  The jury will be instructed not to reduce any damages award even if the worker could have been a little more careful.  In many states, these types of issues, known as comparative fault or comparative negligence, are not relevant in product liability cases.  An experienced lawyer can assess your actions and the product itself and advise you if a product liability claim should be pursued.

Help After Injured By A Consumer Product

The lawyers at White and Williams have litigated numerous dangerous products cases and helped their clients recover financial compensation.  If you were injured by a dangerous, defective or recalled product and would like to discuss your case, call  877.944.8396.  FREE consultations.


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