Being a consumer of manufactured products is an integral part of modern life in the United States. Unlike the Native Americans, and the European subsistence farmers who first settled parts of Pennsylvania, in the 21st century, most of us cannot rely only on those things we can make ourselves. This means we rely on the fact that when we purchase products with our hard-earned money, those items are safe and effective at whatever job they were intended to do. Because of this, a legal framework has arisen that is aimed at protecting consumers who purchase items placed into the stream of commerce.
Generally, this area of law is called products liability, and it can become fairly complex depending upon the circumstances in any given case. However, there are some basic categories of liability under this legal framework, and these can serve as a useful guide to recognizing when an injury caused by a defective product may be actionable to recover compensation for the injured party.
There are three general categories of defective products that Pennsylvania residents may encounter in their lives. First are those that contain design defects. These are items that do not conform to the reasonable expectations a consumer might have for that item in doing what it is supposed to do. Designing a phone battery that explodes when in contact with a human body might be such a defect.
Second, there are manufacturing defects. These are products that would be perfectly safe as designed, but were built or modified in a way that makes them dangerous, either through mistake or an attempt to get the product to do something for which it was not intended.
Finally, there are defects in warnings or instructions. These may be the trickiest of defective products, as the product itself may work as designed, for its intended purposes, but the consumer is unaware of how to use it, or what the potential consequences of using it might be, due to the fact that the product’s documentation was defective.
Because manufacturers and other companies that make money from selling items have a large amount of power over what consumers use, they also have a large amount of responsibility to ensure their products are safe and effective. Those harmed by a defective product may wish to consider seeing an experienced attorney to determine if they are entitled to compensation.