Gifting is part of the holiday tradition for New York families. Both giving and receiving gifts from loved ones is a wonderful part of the season. Unfortunately, sometimes a product given as a gift does not function in the way that it should, which can result in serious injury.
If you or a loved one are injured by a defective product, you may need to seek compensation for the injuries. This will not only lessen the financial burden on your family but will also hold the responsible parties accountable, forcing them to take action to prevent future injuries.
Pin-pointing the Defective Product Problem in New York
Children are often most vulnerable to defective products. The Office of the Attorney General recently released a comprehensive list of dangerous toys. These notorious playthings have injured thousands of unsuspecting children.
Similarly, products intended for babies, such as strollers or rockers, are often defective, causing serious or even fatal injuries to babies and toddlers.
Products purchased online are also becoming problematic. This is because it’s difficult to track the product’s origin and legitimacy.
For example, a recent exposé revealed that many third-party products sold on Amazon are unsafe, and a US appeals court has ruled that the e-commerce giant can be held liable for these products.
Seeking Compensation in New York? The Clock Is Ticking
If you or a loved one were injured by a defective product, you might have less time than you think to pursue damages. The State of New York imposes statutes of limitations that limit the amount of time you have to file a claim. This is the primary reason you want to begin collecting evidence as soon as possible.
Evidence Is Time-Sensitive
If you were injured and suspect that the injury was caused by a defective product, begin collecting evidence immediately. Taking these steps in gathering evidence can help protect your rights to file a liability claim:
- Preserve the product in its present condition, even if it is damaged or half-used
- Do not attempt to repair the product, or discard the product
- Save the packaging, instructions, and receipt.
- Take pictures of your injuries as soon as possible
- Write a date-stamped account of the accident that caused your injury
- Ask any witnesses of the incident to do the same
- Seek medical attention as soon as possible, and keep all medical records and receipts
New Yorkers Have Three Years to File a Defective Product Claim
In New York, the clock begins when the victim learns of his or her injury. For acute injuries, such as many of those caused by defective toys, this is most likely the day of the accident.
For products that cause chronic health conditions (think Johnson & Johnson baby powder suit), this period becomes more debatable.
In either case, New York says you have three years from the date you learn of your injury to file a defective product claim. Once this period has expired, you no longer have a valid claim.
Still, if you wait two years before taking action, plan on the severity of your injuries being questioned in court. This is why we advise that clients take action as soon as possible following a defective product injury.
Three Types of Product Liability Claims in NY
There are essentially three types of product liability claims. The type of claim will help determine the responsible parties for the injury. The three types of product liability claims include defective design, defective manufacturing, and failure to warn.
The product is inherently dangerous based on its design alone, rather than the manufacturing process. For example, a top-heavy piece of furniture can cause an injury even if it is manufactured correctly.
The original design of the product is safe, but something in the manufacturing process made the individual product that caused the injury unsafe. For example, if a tire is safely designed but the adhesive used to hold it together is not correctly applied, this would be a defective manufacturing case.
Failure to Warn
The manufacturer had a duty to warn the consumer of some danger inherent to the product but failed to do so. Common examples of failure to warn include prescription drug injuries, in which consumers were not warned of potential side effects.
How New Yorkers Prove Defective Product Liability Cases
In order to win a defective product liability case, you must be able to establish the following:
- You were injured or suffered losses that can be compensated financially
- The product was defective, meeting one of the above criteria
- The defect caused the injury or loss
- You were using the product as intended and directed by the manufacturer
Proving these elements often requires an in-depth investigation and expert testimony to establish that the product was indeed defective. This means that putting together a defective product liability case can be quite complex. Having an experienced New York product liability lawyer in your corner is best.
If you or a loved one were injured by a defective product this holiday season, we encourage you to seek compensation by taking action as soon as possible.