Product Liability and Anticipated of Misuse of a ProductIf you were injured by a product, you might think that you have no legal recourse if you were using the product in a way other than what was specified or intended. Even when a product is being used in an unintended way, product liability law places a responsibility on the manufacturers and designers of products.
Foreseeable Misuse of a Product
In a product liability case, a manufacturer or designer will often try to argue that they are not liable for a plaintiff’s injury because the plaintiff was not using the product as intended. Although product designers and manufacturers aren’t required to anticipate every conceivable misuse of their product, they do have a duty with respect to uses of their product that, while not intended, are reasonably foreseeable. If a plaintiff was injured while misusing a product in a way that the manufacturer could have predicted, then that manufacturer has a duty to warn people that the product is dangerous if misused in that manner.
For instance, a manufacturer could make a chair with the intention that it be sat on. If someone stands on the chair to reach something on a high shelf, this is a misuse of the product, but it is common practice. This misuse is reasonably foreseeable and should be anticipated by the manufacturer. Therefore, if the chair is dangerous to someone that is standing on it, the manufacturer has a duty to warn consumers of this danger.
Altering a Product
A manufacturer or designer of a product also has a duty to warn consumers of the dangers of altering the product after it leaves the manufacturer. For instance, someone removing the plastic safety guard on a power saw before using it. This modification of the product would be considered a misuse, even if the saw is used as intended. Again, it becomes important whether or not the alteration of the product was reasonably foreseeable before a manufacturer or designer will be held liable. At trial, a jury will decide whether a modification was substantial and whether that alteration was reasonably foreseeable by the manufacturer or designer.
Contact an Experienced Product Liability Attorney
If you’ve been injured by a defective product, you should have an attorney evaluate your case. At Bonina & Bonina, P.C., we have over 50 years of experience helping New Yorkers in product liability claims. Contact us online or call us at 1-888-MEDLAW1 to schedule your free consultation. Home and hospital visits are available. Se habla español.