How Does New Jersey Law Address Product Liability?
Overview: Product Liability
Product liability is a broad term that covers several different theories under which individuals injured by a manufacturer’s product can seek to be compensated for personal injury and damages. New Jersey has an act dedicated to the are called the “New Jersey Product Liability Act.” This aptly-named set of laws outlines the three theories under which an individual can seek to hold a manufacturer liable: defective design, manufacturing defect, or failure to warn.
What is Defective Design?
New Jersey law considers a design to be defective when a Plaintiff proves either:
- That the product’s risks to the consumer outweighed its benefit to the consumer or
- That the product could have been designed in an alternative manner that would minimize the risk or eliminate the risk entirely
A New Jersey Supreme Court ruling that outlined these requirements involved a consumer that had been burned after a room fogger (used to wipe out large insect infestations) exploded. The plaintiff had argued that the design was defective because the propellant used to expel the insecticide from the canister was highly flammable, and that a different, much-less flammable propellant was widely available. The Court agreed that this was evidence that a practical and feasible alternative design was available, but the ultimate decision as to whether the Plaintiff would be successful in arguing that such design would minimize or eliminate the risk would be up to the jury.
Defective design claims are incredibly fact-specific and require experience to properly and successfully articulate.
What Constitutes a Manufacturing Defect?
In New Jersey, a manufacturing defect exists when the Plaintiff is able to prove that the product as produced deviated from its “design specifications, formulae, or performance standards of the manufacturer or from otherwise identical units manufactured to the same manufacturing specifications or formulae,” (New Jersey Product Liability Act). Boiled down, the Plaintiff must prove that the product produced was not the same as what was designed, and that change or difference is what caused the injury claimed. An example would be substitution of a prescribed material at the manufacturing site. Say that a product’s specifications call for a certain type of metal, but the manufacturing site runs out of that metal. In its place, it uses a similar metal but one that’s not designed for the job it needs to do in this product. That metal ends up failing, and causing injury. This would be a manufacturing defect.
When Has a Manufacturer Failed to Warn the Consumer?
The last cause of action available to consumers under New Jersey product liability laws is where the plaintiff proves that the manufacturer knew about some aspect of its product that posed a danger to consumers, and that the manufacturer failed to warn consumers about that danger. It requires showing that the manufacturer was aware of the dangerous aspect of the product, and that any reasonable person in the manufacturer’s position would have disclosed that information to consumers. It also requires showing that most reasonable consumers would not be aware of the dangerous aspect of the product.
Contact Drazin & Warshaw to Discuss Your Cape May Product Defect Case
Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries due to a product’s defective design, manufacturing defect, or the failure of a manufacturer to warn you of the product’s dangers in New Jersey? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. You need a competent, capable, caring, and trusted attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you deserve. The skilled attorneys at Drazin & Warshaw represent clients injured because of product liability in Marlboro, Manalapan, Freehold, Long Branch and throughout New Jersey. Call our offices at (732) 747- 3730 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. You don’t pay until we win. We have offices conveniently located at 25 Reckless Place, Red Bank, NJ 07701, as well as offices in 3315 NJ-35, Hazlet, NJ 07730 and 937 Cedar Bridge Ave, Brick Township, NJ 08723. If it is more convenient for you, our attorneys are also available to come see you anywhere in New Jersey.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact Drazin and Warshaw directly.