Consumer protection laws in New York State are designed to ensure public safety and keep dangerous products off the market. Unfortunately, it’s still possible for defective products to be sold to unsuspecting consumers. Dangerous products cause their victims a range of physical, emotional, and financial damages, especially in the case of catastrophic injuries with lifelong consequences. When companies place their profits above consumer safety and cause irrevocable harm, they can be held responsible under New York State’s personal injury laws.
The product liability attorneys at Finkelstein & Partners have decades of experience advocating for injured victims of defective products in the greater Wappingers Falls community. If you’ve suffered serious injuries due to a product malfunction, you deserve fair compensation for your medical bills, lost income, emotional distress, and other losses.
Table of Contents
- Product Defects That Cause Injuries
- The Legal Grounds For Filing A Product Liability Claim In New York State
- The Damages Available Available In A Product Liability Claim
- Frequently Asked Questions
- How Our Wappingers Falls Product Liability Attorneys Can Help You
Wappingers Falls Product Liability Lawyers Fighting For You
Product liability claims are some of the most challenging cases to win, especially when the defendant is a large company with lots of resources to spend on lawyers. Recovering fair compensation will require evidence that the product was not only defective but also that it directly caused the victim’s damages.
At Finkelstein & Partners, we’re committed to holding manufacturers and retailers accountable for their poor safety standards. We know the stress that victims and their families experience while trying to navigate the legal system, and we provide compassionate service every step of the way. Our Wappingers Falls personal injury attorneys will work tirelessly to investigate the circumstances of your injuries, build a solid case and protect your legal rights.
Finkelstein & Partners has a proven track record of excellence that includes winning millions of dollars in compensation for our clients.
While no guarantee of future success, some of our past victories in product liability cases include:
- $16.5 million for the family of an employee that was tragically killed due to a design defect in an industrial machine that the manufactured was already aware existed
- $4.75 million for a client that suffered catastrophic injuries from a defective product and later passed away
- $4 million for our elderly client, who underwent open-heart surgery and suffered complications due to defective medical equipment
- $1.2 million to compensate the family of a mattress factory employee that suffered a fatal accident due to malfunctioning machinery
- $500,000 for our client, who endured extensive 2nd and 3rd-degree burns and required a long hospitalization after an accident with a malfunctioning stove
Product Defects That Cause Injuries
New York State’s product liability laws require manufacturers, distributors, and retailers to vet all products according to specific safety standards. This responsibility to their consumers includes every step of the process, from the initial design and building of the product to the instructions on how to properly use it.
Many product defects can be potentially dangerous for consumers, but they can usually be grouped into three main categories: defective manufacturing, defective design, and failure to provide adequate warnings.
Many of the most harmful product defects happen because of a problem at the factory that affects either a batch of products or a single item. These flaws are accidental and unintended, but there’s supposed to be a quality assurance step preventing substandard products from reaching the consumer. Manufacturing defects are often caused by preventable issues like low-quality materials, not training workers properly, or not using the right equipment.
Examples of manufacturing defects include:
- a swing set for children with a cracked chain that breaks easily
- a batch of prescription medicine that gets tainted with a toxic substance
- a vehicle with a malfunctioning airbag sensor that fails to deploy
Some products pose a threat to consumers because of inherent problems with how the product was originally designed, even when manufactured according to specifications and used correctly by the consumer. These defects often arise from a lack of product safety tests, resulting in glaring errors that make the item fundamentally dangerous. Some examples of defectively designed products include:
- An electric appliance with inadequate wiring that can easily short-circuit when it’s on the highest setting
- Children’s toys with detachable parts that become a choking hazard
- A vehicle with uneven weight distribution that makes it likely to flip over during a sharp turn
Failure to Warn
Some products can become dangerous when the consumer isn’t properly educated about how to use them or if the product has potential risks that wouldn’t necessarily be obvious. The manufacturer or retailer is potentially liable when a consumer suffers a preventable injury due to poor labeling, unclear instructions, or the lack of conspicuous warnings. For example, a cold medication that makes the user extremely drowsy but doesn’t warn against operating heavy machinery after taking it.
The Legal Grounds For Filing A Product Liability Claim In New York State
Product liability claims can be brought on different grounds, depending on the circumstances that led to the victim getting hurt. These are technical legal questions that your attorney will advise you on. The most important thing to understand is that New York State holds companies to a very high standard of responsibility for public safety. That means retailers and manufacturers can be liable for selling an unreasonably dangerous product even if the defect wasn’t necessarily caused by negligence.
Injured consumers can pursue compensation for their damages under the grounds of strict liability, negligence, or breach of warranty.
Strict Liability Claims
Strict liability holds manufacturers and retailers broadly responsible when their defective products cause consumer injuries. Liability doesn’t depend on evidence of any specific wrongdoing on their part, such as selling a product they knew was dangerous, failing to conduct safety tests, or using substandard materials.
Strict liability exists to pressure companies to invest the necessary resources to prevent accidental hazards with their product. As long as the victim can show that their injuries were caused by a flaw with the product, such as poor design or a manufacturing error, then the company is liable for the consumer’s injuries and resulting damages.
Product liability cases that center on negligence have to prove how the company’s carelessness contributed to a defect that made its product dangerous. The legal standard for negligence is all about what’s considered reasonable behavior for a company that takes product safety seriously and follows the applicable guidelines for their industry.
Establishing a company’s negligence will depend on showing four elements:
- The liable company owed the victim a “duty of care” to make sure their product was safe
- The liable company breached this duty with a negligent act, such as by skipping basic safety protocols
- The liable company’s negligence was the direct cause of the victim’s injuries
- The victim’s injuries resulted in specific damages
Breach of Warranty Claims
Product liability claims can also be filed under “breach of warranty,” which is an implied promise to consumers that the products they buy aren’t defective or unreasonably dangerous.
According to New York State’s consumer protection laws, companies have to guarantee that any product they place on the market will be safe when used as intended. When a defective product is the direct cause of consumer injury, they’ve violated this guarantee. Under the breach of warranty framework, manufacturers and retailers are liable for damages even if there’s no evidence they were negligent.
The Damages Available Available In A Product Liability Claim
Consumers depend on manufacturers and retailers to provide products designed, built, and tested up to the appropriate safety standards. Companies that don’t fulfill this obligation can cause victims significant harm.
The consequences of a serious injury can include long-term physical and financial challenges and a major disruption to the victim’s normal life. Under New York’s product liability laws, injured consumers and their families have the right to hold companies accountable and pursue compensatory damages. The types of damages that may be available for a product liability claim include:
To establish all the measurable financial costs of getting injured, your attorney will work with medical specialists and other experts that can help determine any long-term financial consequences.
Economic damages can include:
- Past and future medical expenses, such as ambulance transportation costs, hospital bills, physical therapy, prescription medication, and assistive medical devices
- Lost wages from not being able to work for a period while recovering
- In the case of catastrophic victims that suffer catastrophic injuries with a low chance of making a full recovery, compensation for having a permanently diminished earning capacity
- Other out-of-pocket costs that resulted from the injury, such as property damage
When a defective product causes serious injuries, the damages for the consumer go far beyond all their measurable financial expenses. There are also many quality-of-life costs that can’t be calculated but are still a major aspect of the victim’s hardships from getting hurt.
For this reason, liable manufacturers and retailers also have to compensate consumers for emotional, psychological, and physical damages such as:
- physical pain and suffering due from serious injuries
- having a reduced quality of life for months or even years to come
- emotional distress, depression, stress, and anxiety
- the inconvenience of a temporary or permanent physical disability
- loss of enjoyment from no longer being able to enjoy certain activities
This compensation category is relatively rare because courts only award them in product liability cases where the manufacturer or retailer shows an extreme disregard for public safety. In New York State, courts often award punitive damages in cases when the liable party purposely misled consumers about the safety of their product, cut corners in a way that violated industry standards, or otherwise behaved with reckless disregard to their customers.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does it cost to hire a product liability lawyer?
After getting hurt due to a defective product, many victims will struggle with not knowing how to navigate the legal system or whether they can afford a lawyer.
At Finkelstein & Partners, we offer you skilled legal representation with no up-front cost. Our team works on contingency, which means we take our legal fees only as a percentage of the compensation we recover on your behalf. Clients are also entitled to a free consultation where we can review your case and let you know if you have the grounds for filing a product liability claim.
How long do I have to pursue compensation after being injured by a defective product?
The short answer is that the earlier you reach out to an attorney, the better it will be for your case. New York State’s statute of limitations for filing a product liability claim is generally three years from the date you were injured, which can increase to four years under some situations.
Victims who don’t meet the deadline lose their chance to get compensation from the parties responsible. Product liability cases are complicated and take significant time to prepare, so it’s always advisable to begin the process sooner rather than later.
How Our Wappingers Falls Product Liability Attorneys Can Help You
After getting injured due to a dangerous product, many consumers will find themselves fighting an uphill battle to recover fair restitution for all their damages from the ordeal. Manufacturers and retailers tend to fight product liability claims as aggressively as possible, even when it’s very clear their product was defective.
At Finkelstein & Partners, we know the stakes are incredibly high for victims and their families, especially while dealing with a mountain of medical bills and overwhelming health challenges. Our personal injury law firm has extensive knowledge of New York State’s consumer protection laws and the dishonest tactics companies use to dodge responsibility for dangerous products. We will use all our considerable resources to gather evidence that strengthens your case, assess the value of your damages, and help you recover fair compensation. Call us at (845) 298-2870 or send us a message through our contact page and let us provide you with a free claim evaluation right now.