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Can Product Manufacturers Be Held Liable for Work Injuries?

worker in warehouse using forkliftThere are situations where a product manufacturer bears some amount of liability for a workplace injury. For example, a piece of heavy machinery may malfunction or have a defect that is unreasonably dangerous. If the defect results in an injury to a worker who was using the product as intended, he or she may have grounds for a product liability claim.

While a workers’ compensation claim may provide compensation for your medical expenses and disability benefits while you are unable to work, a product liability claim may provide compensation for other damages. These other damages may include pain and suffering, lost enjoyment of life and loss of companionship.

Below, learn more about product liability for a workplace injury, including the types of product liability claims and guidelines for proving liability.

Strict Liability for Defective Products

There are different legal theories your lawyer may use to build a product liability case, but most claims use the strict liability standard. That means product manufacturers are strictly liable for any injuries that result from a product defect, regardless of whether the manufacturer was negligent.

Your attorney must prove there was a defect with the product that made it unreasonably dangerous, the product was used as directed, and there were no substantial modifications to the product.

Often, the victim’s lawyer needs to have opinion testimony from a qualified expert to establish inherent defects in a product. You cannot simply claim the product must have been defective because an injury occurred.

There are three main types of defects that may apply to a product liability case – often, product liability cases assert there was more than one type of defect:

  • Manufacturing defect ­– This means there was a problem during manufacturing that made the product defective. For example, maybe the product was assembled incorrectly or components were damaged at the factory and this made the product unstable.
  • Design defect – The entire line of products may be dangerous because the design is unsafe. The product does not perform safely as an ordinary consumer would have expected it to. The product manufacturer will likely need to prove the benefits of the design outweigh the risks to avoid liability.
  • Failure to warn – The manufacturer failed to include adequate warning about unavoidable dangers associated with the product. For example, there may not have been clear instructions on using the product safely. Your lawyer must prove the manufacturer knew or should have known of the danger, given prevailing scientific knowledge at the time of manufacture. Your lawyer must also establish the injury would not have happened if adequate warning and instruction was provided. 

The Fresno workers’ compensation lawyers at our firm are prepared to help establish strict liability and build a strong case for compensation should your claim have merit.

Cases Based on Negligence

In a case based on negligence, your lawyer needs to establish a duty of care was breached by the manufacturer and this is what directly led to you being injured. The duty of care depends on the situation. For example, if a reasonable person is likely to think something is unreasonably dangerous, such as the design of the product, there may be a case.

Potential Defective Products in the Workplace

There are many different products workers use that may be defective and potentially lead to serious injuries, including amputations, lacerations, broken bones and traumatic brain injuries. Here are some examples:

  • Power tools
  • Forklifts
  • Bulldozers
  • Excavators
  • Cranes
  • Backhoes
  • Milling machines
  • Food slicers
  • Trash compactors
  • Powered conveyors
  • Drill presses
  • Roll-forming machines
  • Band saws
  • Meat grinders

Discuss Your Work Injury With an Experienced Attorney

Have questions about recovering compensation after a work injury?

Our experienced attorneys at Berry, Smith & Bartell are here to help work injury victims. We know how difficult of a situation this can be for the victim and his or her family. We are prepared to answer your questions and discuss how we may be able to assist you in a free legal consultation.

There are no upfront fees and our lawyers are not paid unless you receive compensation. There is no risk to you in contacting us.

For a free case evaluation with Berry, Smith & Bartell, a Professional Law Corporation call 1-800-848-6288 today!

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