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Some of the most devastating injuries and horrifying deaths are caused by unsafe and defective products. These injuries often occur in the workplace, but happen at home or in vehicles as well. Under New York law, many companies can be responsible for injuries caused by defective appliances, machines, equipment, vehicles, toys, medicines, or even small consumer products used by most people every day.
(i) Manufacturing Flaws - meaning that the design was acceptable, but that this individual product was not correctly made in the manufacturing process, and that the product was dangerous as a result of that mistake in making the particular unit of product, and that mistake causes an injury. An example of this would be a product that was designed to have a smooth edge come off the assembly line with a sharp edge;
(ii) Design Defects - meaning that each unit of the product which the company made was dangerous because the design created or failed to eliminate a hazard, and this hazard could have been removed by using a different design which was either available, or could have been used without a large increase in the cost of making the product. An example of this was the design of certain lines of pick-up trucks which placed the fuel tanks in a position where they were more prone to explode and ignite upon impact from the side;
(iii) Inadequate Warnings - Certain products present certain dangers that cannot be removed by any other design. One example is oil based wood floor coverings, such as polyurethane. There is no way to make an oil based polyurethane that does not create a risk of fire, so the manufacturers are required to have warnings on the labels to alert the user to keep it away from open flame. A products liability case can be brought if there is a fire and there was no warning on the can, because they warnings are required by law, and they are also accepted industry standard and practice among manufacturers of these products.
If you or someone you know is injured by a defective product, the first thing you should do is KEEP THE PRODUCT, even if it is damaged or unusable. It is critical evidence in the case, and may be essential to winning the case. Product liability cases demand immediate investigation and retention of experts from many fields of engineering. In order to succeed, the victims of these unfortunate accidents must retain attorneys willing to expend the time, energy and financial resources to identify and obtain evidence against those responsible for the products. Responsible parties might include manufacturers, wholesalers, distributers, retailers, component part makers, lessors, or material processors. Service, repair and maintenance companies can also be liable for older, used product defects.
In the workplace, an employer might not be insulated from liability by virtue of workers compensation because many companies operate with sister and parent organizations that might have independent liability for safety in the workplace or maintenance and repair of the machinery and equipment.
At the Law Offices of William Cafaro, we have both the legal expertise and financial resources to take a products liability case from the accident to a successful trial and verdict as evidenced by the $4,800,000 recently recovered by one of our clients, a 54 year-old Spanish speaking dishwasher/porter against his supermarket employer for the amputation of his arm in a defective, unguarded, compacting machine allowed to be operated in the workplace without instructions or warnings.
We know the law.
We understand the needs of our clients.