In New York, what kind of products can I sue for?

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Samuel M. Meirowitz - Personal Injury - Products - Super Lawyers

Answered by: Samuel M. Meirowitz

Meirowitz & Wasserberg, LLP
New York, NY
Phone: 212-897-1988
Fax: 646-432-6887

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Consumers trust that products are designed, manufactured and packaged in a way that encourages safety and prevents unnecessary harm. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for a broad range of products from food items to vehicle parts to injure consumers or lead to devastating illnesses. Nearly any product can be faulty or dangerous, and it is wise to seek legal guidance to fully understand your options for monetary compensation.

What types of products can cause harm?

While an individual will typically encounter hundreds of different products each day, most of them work as intended. Unfortunately, numerous types of products can fail leading to serious injury or disease. These products can include:

  • Children’s Toys
  • Cribs
  • Household Appliances
  • Food
  • Vehicle Parts
  • Electrical Equipment
  • Furniture
  • Lead Paint
  • Medical Devices such as Hernia Mesh or IVC Filters
  • Power Tools
  • Pharmaceuticals such as Invokana
  • 3M Combat Arms Earplugs

This is by no means a complete list of products that might be unsafe. In fact, new products are found to be dangerous at an alarming rate.

The link between Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer

There is a growing body of evidence that suggests a link between using talc-based products in the genital area and the development of ovarian cancer. Based on the amount of product and duration of use, a woman might see her chances of developing ovarian cancer increase over time.

Talc is a naturally occurring mineral that often contains traces of other materials when it is mined. Unfortunately, talc is most often mined near another naturally occurring mineral — asbestos. While asbestos is natural, it is hazardous to human health. Ingesting, inhaling or letting asbestos fibers absorb into the body can lead to tissue damage and cancer. There is evidence that suggests companies such as Johnson & Johnson (J&J) have known about the dangerous link between baby powder (and other talc-based products) and cancer since the 1970s.

What can cause a product to be dangerous?

From conceptualizing a product to stacking it on store shelves, manufacturers typically have several stages during which they can identify and correct faults. Most commonly:

  • Design Phase: At this stage, the company gets to decide the product specifications from the materials to be used all the way down to the smallest detail about screw placement and how sharp any angles need to be. Additionally, they can build prototypes to test the usability and safety of the product itself. Using toxic materials or failing to recognize mechanical faults can have disastrous effects.
  • Manufacturing Phase: Whether the product is mass-produced or it is handcrafted, errors can occur. A chair missing a screw, for example, or a batch of over-the-counter medication that was tainted by a foreign substance can lead to serious injury or illness.
  • Packaging and Marketing: From plastic clamshell packaging to cardboard boxes that use huge industrial staples as fasteners, consumers can be injured trying to open their new product. Additionally, the manufacturer must affix the proper warning labels and accurate instructions inside the packaging.

Consumers must always remember that even the most innocuous product can lead to injury or illness. In New York, even if a consumer used the product incorrectly, the manufacturer can be found to have acted negligently.

What’s the difference between Mass Tort and Class Action?

Many products liability cases are handled on an individual basis either through negotiation or courtroom litigation. In some situations, however, the case might proceed as class action or mass tort litigation. While there are similarities to how these types of cases are handled, it is important to remember the central difference — how the group of plaintiffs is handled.

In a class action, the group of plaintiffs is handled as one plaintiff with the lead plaintiff suing the manufacturer on behalf of the entire class. In a mass tort, each plaintiff is treated as an individual — having to establish how that person specifically was injured by the defendant’s action.

It is important to discuss your specific case with a skilled products liability attorney. Many factors might influence your ability to recover monetary compensation from a negligent manufacturer. Let an experienced lawyer explain your options.

Disclaimer: The answer is intended to be for informational purposes only. It should not be relied on as legal advice, nor construed as a form of attorney-client relationship.

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