At any moment during any day, a products liability claim can develop without notice. From the lead in toys that we buy for our children to enjoy . . . to the tires on our vehicles that we trust to safely transport our families . . . the consequences of a defective product can be life changing. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that consumer product incidents cost the public $800 Billion dollars annually as a result of deaths, injuries and property damage. The area of law that has developed to remedy these situations is called products liability.
Products liability law holds designers, manufacturers, and sellers responsible for the harm suffered by buyers and users of defective products. Defects are flaws in the way a product is designed, manufactured, or marketed that may cause injury or death. Companies responsible for the manufacture and sale of a product must take reasonable measures to ensure the safety of their product. The design must be tested, the manufacturing must be adequate, the accompanying instructions must be clear about any hazards, and the distribution must be made with appropriate care.
Product liability cases involve issues of product recalls, warranty obligations, negligence, manufacturing and design problems and failure to provide proper instructions and warnings.
The nature of a products liability claim is dependent on the jurisdiction, the type of product and the variety and cause of the defect. Product defects can surface in different facets of the user experience including defects in design, manufacturing or even when a manufacturer fails to warn of associated dangers in the product’s use. Moreover, liability in these cases can rest on many different parties ascending the supply chain up to the original manufacturer. After gathering all of this information, we will determine the appropriate type of claim that should be pursued including negligence, strict liability, breach of warranty or fraud.
Product liability cases are complex, expensive to litigate, and often vigorously defended. However, we have consistently recovered substantial damages for our clients injured by defective products. The lawyers of Petersen & Petersen have represented clients injured due to a wide array of products where the product design, manufacturing or warning was unsafe. Through the creative application of both law and engineering on behalf of its clients, the lawyers of Petersen & Petersen have worked with safety experts throughout the country to prepare and develop cases. The end result has been that many dangerous and failed products are now safer. The following are two results:
Confidential Wrongful Death Product Liability Settlement.
Susan and Todd Petersen settled a wrongful death, product liability case in federal court against General Motors Corporation for a confidential amount. This case was an automotive products liability action alleging defects relative to the design of the fuel system on a medium duty truck driven by a 47 year old man who was involved in a one vehicle accident on I-90 East just west of Cleveland. The driver’s traumatic injuries were minor, but the vehicle’s 50 gallon fuel tank — mounted outside the frame just below the passenger door – was compromised in the collision. The post collision fuel fed fire badly burned the driver. For three and a half months, he was hospitalized in a burn unit in Cleveland. After 14 surgeries, including bilateral leg amputations, he succumbed to his injuries.
$1.45 Million Dollar Product Liability Settlement.
Susan and Todd Petersen negotiated a $1.45 million settlement in a products liability claim. Her client claimed to have been injured while using the product, breaking her back at L1 and L5 requiring a kyphoplasty, hemilaminectomy, a diskectomy, and fusion. Plaintiff claimed permanent daily back pain. Susan brought suit, claiming the product was defective in both design and manufacture. The defendant company denied the allegations. The remaining terms of the settlement, including the identity of the parties, are confidential.