Product Liability

Promoting Safe Industrial and Consumer Products for our Workplaces and Homes

Product liability cases result from a manufacturer’s negligence—deficient research and development, poor design, defective manufacturing processes, and inadequate testing, inspection and quality control. Sometimes warnings are necessary to alert the operator or consumer of a hidden danger with the product’s function or use, or to remind the operator or consumer of a danger that can be overlooked. Instructions must be provided to tell the operator or consumer the safest and preferred way to use a product. The user or consumer is entitled to clearly written information that states the product’s limitations, and eliminates any inaccurate expectations.

Manufacturers, distributors and retailers can also be held responsible for breaching express and implied warranties about a product’s fitness for a particular task, and the reasonably anticipated ways in which it will be used.

We work with the most knowledgeable experts from industry and the academic world - combining expertise in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, biomedical and biomechanical engineering, metallurgy, materials science, human factors psychology, epidemiology, and various other specialties - to carefully evaluate product liability cases, advise us as we prepare your case, and provide expert testimony at trial.

Over the years, we have represented many clients who have been injured by unsafe or defective consumer, office and household products:

  • Automobiles and passenger vans
  • Baseball bats
  • Bicycles
  • Flammable clothing
  • Food blenders
  • Hockey helmets and protective sports equipment
  • Leg braces
  • Office furniture
  • Power wheelchairs
  • Seat covers
  • Stoves and heaters
  • Toys

We have also represented people who have been injured in factories, plants, and warehouses, on jobsites, and on our roadways in product liability cases involving unsafe or defective industrial machinery and commercial equipment:

  • Can manufacturing and bottling machinery
  • Cranes and hoisting equipment
  • Forklifts
  • Industrial trucks and power wheelbarrows
  • Industrial saws and woodworking machines
  • Ladders and scaffoldings
  • Lawnmowers and snowblowers
  • Metalworking and foundry machinery
  • Power presses
  • Power tools
  • Welding equipment
  • Trucks, tractors and trailers

Statute of Limitations

Generally, Massachusetts allows three years for you to file a product liability claim, but the facts of your particular case may result in less time or special notice requirements.

Due to the time necessary to properly gather evidence and investigate a case before filing suit, and the need to preserve evidence, you should retain an attorney immediately upon suspecting the basis for a product liability claim.

 

Recovering Damages in Product Liability Cases

If you have been injured by a defective or unsafe product, you may be entitled to recover compensation for the following damages:

  • Medical expenses, long term rehabilitation and continuing care
  • Loss of earning capacity now and into the future
  • Physical and emotional pain and suffering
  • Double or triple damages for breach of the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act
  • Loss of consortium and society. Your spouse and children may be entitled to compensation for their loss of your affection, support, companionship and other elements of their relationship with you

 

How We Use Evidence to Win Product Liability Cases

From the inception of a case, we consider the types of “demonstrative evidence” that will bring alive key pieces of evidence and help a jury understand your case. Our thorough approach to products liability cases goes beyond hiring experts.

For instance, we commonly:

  • Photograph and videotape the product in operation, and as commonly used by consumers and operators in the field
  • Research government regulations and guidelines, and industry standards
  • Evaluate competitor’s products for improvements in design, and for better warnings and instructions
  • Explore trade, industry and consumer journals for articles and advertisements
  • Research patents and historical literature
  • Build scale models to demonstrate the defect or unsafe aspect of the product, and methods of eliminating or minimizing the risk of injury
  • Develop better warnings and instructions

 

Results for Product Liability Cases

We have recovered millions of dollars for our clients in product liability cases. Some examples:

  • $1.2 million recovery against successor corporation of manufacturer of defective 40-year old automobile lift; mechanic sustained partial paraplegia when pickup truck fell off lift when supporting arm on lift disengaged
  • $1.3 million recovery in product liability claim against bankrupt hockey helmet manufacturer; high school student suffered paralysis due to defective helmet
  • $1 million settlement against manufacturer of vending machine, for cafeteria cashier who sustained head injury when struck by interior component of machine as she was clearing a jam for patron
  • $400,000 judgment against manufacturer of industrial cart that tipped when defective weld failed, causing electric motor to fall on repairman and fracture his knee
  • $350,000 settlement against manufacturer of automobile seat cover with dangerous bungee cord attachment design; woman sustained eye injury from ricochet of bungee cord while attaching seat cover
  • $180,000 judgment for college student who sustained partial amputation of finger that got caught in frame of telescoping ladder