Understanding Defective Product Qualifications in Pennsylvania

Tablet with keyboard and a cracked screen on a deskIn Pennsylvania, plaintiffs can bring a cause of action to a manufacturer, seller, or distributor of a product that is allegedly defective if it falls under one of these categories: strict liability, breach of warranty, or negligence. Cases of product liability typically utilize the legal theory of strict liability, resulting from defective design, manufacturing defect, or lack of sufficient instructions or warnings for a product. So, what qualifies as a defective product? Keep in mind, to establish recovery when alleging another party defectively designed a product, injured parties must prove the product caused unreasonably serious injury based on two different standards used in Pennsylvania court.

Consumer Expectations Standard

Pennsylvania law defines a defect as a condition, upon normal use, that makes the product dangerous beyond the reasonable consumer’s expectations. This standard is based on the expectation that reasonable consumers understand the defective product’s dangerous nature. Factors relevant in determining a reasonable consumer’s expectations of a product are its intended use, nature of the product, the target user, the identity of the user, and expressed or implied depictions by the manufacturer or seller.

Risk-Utility Standard

The risk-utility standard is based on a risk-reward or cost-benefit analysis. This standard surveys if the probability and seriousness of the injury are outweighed by the cost or burden of preventing the harm related to the injury. In other words, you have to prove the injury could’ve been avoided if the product was made correctly and cost-efficiently. For example, if your tablet explodes in the dryer, the court would most likely not find the product to be defective. If your tablet explodes in your bag; however, it’s more likely to be determined as faulty.

Statute of Limitations

Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations on a defective product is two years. The clock for the statute will typically start when the injury from the product occurs. Pennsylvania also uses the discovery rule when an injured party doesn’t immediately discover the damage. In those cases, the statute begins when the injured party discovers or should have discovered the product caused the injury.

Consumers have a right to presume a product for sale is safe for its intended purpose. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury due to a dangerous or defective product, the attorneys at D’Amico Law Offices, LLC may be able to help. We are a team dedicated to providing you effective and compassionate legal representation. Give us a call at 412-906-8180 or contact one of our attorneys today to see if we can help.