Products liability cases or dangerous products cases in PA and NJ encompass injury cases that arise from accidents involving things that are manufactured or put together. These products generally fall under 2 main categories: 1. consumer goods, and 2. industrial products.
Consumer goods are everything from baby strollers, children’s toys, bicycles, sporting equipment, ladders, garden equipment, to lawn mowers, etc. - anything you may use around the house and are familiar with.
Industrial products include everything one can imagine people use in a specific industry. Some of these things are so large and so complex that we often don’t think of them as products. Such products include paper mills, paper winding equipment, very large industrial printing machines that print boxes, etc.
A lot of times when people are injured at work in an industrial setting, it is not immediately recognized that they have a potential products liability case.
What injured workers usually think about in terms of their legal remedy is a PA or NJ workers’ compensation claim. The workers’ comp laws in PA and NJ require employers to provide medical benefits and lost wages to any worker/employee injured in a work-related accident. Workers’ comp benefits are provided regardless of fault. Therefore, if the worker was negligent and caused his own accident, the employer still pays the injured worker benefits. On the flip side, if the worker’s accident was caused by the employer’s negligence, the worker is not allowed to sue the employer in a personal injury lawsuit. There are very limited situations when employees can sue their employers, but we will not be addressing those situations in this article.
After an injured worker notifies his employer of his work place injury and starts a workers’ comp claim, they often think that is their only legal remedy. What most injured workers don’t realize is that they have legal rights against non-employer parties, such as a product manufacturer that may have caused the accident. An injured worker may have a potential dangerous products case against the product manufacturer.
For instance, a machine operator working on a paper winding machine may suffer a hand crush injury while working on the machine. The paper winding machine had an exposed moving part that caught the operator’s hand and pulled his hand into the machine. In order to prevail in the case, the injured worker needs to prove that the machine was defective. As it turns out, the machine lacked the necessary guard required by OSHA regulations. Thus, the machine was defectively designed. If a guard was covering the exposed moving part, the operator’s hand would not have gotten caught by the moving parts of the machine.
In such a case, the injured machine operator may sue the machine manufacturer and be able to recover damages including, but not limited to, pain and suffering damages, medical bills and lost wages, even those already covered by workers’ comp. If he does obtain financial recovery for any lost wages/medical bills that were paid by the workers' compensation carrier, he may be required to reimburse the carrier. This is known as a workers' compensation lien and is very common in PA/NJ work injury cases.
Products liability law is very complex. In order to win a dangerous products case, the injured victim must prove that the product was defective. There are various ways a product can be defective. Therefore, it is vital to have an experienced dangerous products lawyer represent injured victims. Many times, expert testimony and reports are necessary to prove that a product was defective. In the above example, an engineer’s report may be necessary to prove that the machine was defectively designed.
For a detailed discussion of how products can be defective, see What Is A Products Liability Case? By A Pennsylvania & New Jersey Personal Injury Lawyer
If you or a loved one was injured by a dangerous product in NJ or PA, call Daniel J. O’Brien, Esq. to schedule a FREE consultation. Dan has extensive experience representing injured victims of defective consumer products and industrial products. 877.944.8396
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