Dangerous and Defective Product Injury Claims in New Jersey
In an earlier blog, we looked at the different legal theories upon which a dangerous or defective product claim can be based. In New Jersey, all potential product liability claims are covered by a state statute, the New Jersey Product Liability Act (NJPLA). Under the NJPLA, a strict liability approach applies to all such claims.
What is Strict Liability?
The legal concept of strict liability essentially does away with the requirement to prove negligence on the part of a defendant. In a negligence scheme, you must demonstrate that the alleged wrongdoer breached the publicly accepted standard of care—failed to act as the jury perceived a reasonable person would. You must also show that the breach of duty caused an accident, and that the accident resulted in actual loss.
In a strict liability claim involving a consumer product, you need only demonstrate that the product was not reasonably safe for its intended purpose. That can be done in one or more of three ways. You can show that:
- the product had some form of manufacturing defect which resulted in injury
- the product had some type of design flaw that caused the injury
- the product did not have appropriate warnings or instructions, leading to injury (also known as the “failure to warn” claim)
To properly demonstrate a manufacturing defect, you must prove that the product failed to meet the manufacturer’s design specifications or deviated from the specifications of supposedly identical units.
To meet the test for allegations of a design flaw, you must demonstrate that the any risks associated with the design outweighed the usefulness, or that the item could have been designed differently to minimize or eliminate the risk of harm without significantly affecting its utility.
To prove a failure-to-warn claim, you must show that the goods failed to include warnings or instructions that a “reasonably prudent” person would have provided or expected in a similar situation.
Contact Gregg A. Wisotsky, Partner at Javerbaum, Wurgaft Hicks Kahn Wikstrom & Sinins, PC
I offer a free phone consultation to every prospective client. For a complimentary evaluation of your case, contact my office online or call me at 973-241-7468. I will come to your home or the hospital to meet with you, if necessary. All major credit cards are accepted.