Product Liability cases deal with the performance of products or equipment that are being blamed for an accident. We examine the product or equipment design, manufacture, maintenance, and modifications to evaluate their contribution to the accident. We first determine what led to an injury or loss, then determine the role of the people, methods and product or equipment involved. Ultimately we develop opinions as experts and effectively present this information to a jury.
When there are questions about whether the design of a product or piece of equipment caused or contributed to an accident, we assist our clients by researching the accident to get an understanding of how the accident happened, how the product or equipment was being used, and if there were modifications to the product or equipment that caused or contributed to the accident. With this knowledge, we can assist with guiding discovery, analyzing discovery responses, researching regulations and standards, researching state of the art at the time the equipment was built, reviewing warnings and training, reviewing manuals, investigating alternative designs, and suggesting questions for witnesses and experts.
Even the best design can be subject to improper manufacture, installation, modification or use. We investigate how the accident occurred and look for issues such as changes in materials, deviations from design drawings, improperly assembled components, missing components, alterations, removal of safety systems, location and actions of operators, and other factors that can lead to hazardous situations.
Areas we typically address:
- Design of the equipment for foreseeable use
- Manufacturing methods, processes and possible defects
- Installation, use and modification of equipment
- Approaches to hazard management
- Standards, codes, regulations and state of the art at the time of manufacture
- Guarding, interlocks, warnings, training
- Operator, owner and maintenance manuals
- Maintenance and repair records
- Whether the accident was avoidable
Examples / Product Expertise:
- Pressure vessels
- Ladders, scaffolding and railings
- Elevators and personnel lifts
- Farm Equipment (tractors, corn pickers, harvesters, bailers, combines, silos, augers, etc.)
- Power Equipment (trenchers, mowers, crushers, etc.)
- Manufacturing Equipment (forklifts, industrial saws, drills, presses, metal working machinery, conveyors, etc.)
- Industrial equipment (coating, granulating, material handling, etc.)
- Vehicles (cars, trucks, bicycles, go-carts, postal vans, ATVs, garbage trucks, rollback / tow trucks, buses, fire trucks, ambulances, limousine, passenger vans, recreational vehicles, trailers and hitches)
- Lifts, jacks and jack stands
- Ice machines
- Medical equipment (wheelchairs, scopes, autoclaves, etc.)
- Automatic doors
- Port equipment (container handling equipment, container fasteners, forklifts, etc.)
- Furniture, exercise equipment, etc.
- Hunting products (tree stands)