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Product Liability Claims in Pennsylvania

November 01, 2016

By van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim

While many manufacturers carefully inspect their products and only use safe construction methods and approved materials, some companies do not take such pains and as a result, place defectively designed or manufacturers products on the market. Thousands of people are injured every year by dangerous consumer products, so if you or a loved one were injured by a defective product, drug, or medical device, it is important to contact an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you obtain the compensation you deserve.

Types of Product Liability Claims

There are three main types of product liability claims under which a victim can file for compensation, including:

  • Defective manufacturing, which means that a dangerous defect was created during production;
  • Defective design, which means that a product is unsafe because of a flawed design; and
  • Failure to provide appropriate warnings or instructions.

Thousands of items are placed on the market every year, many of which are dangerous. Some of the most common defective products that cause injury to consumers include:

  • Household appliances;
  • Medical devices;
  • Drugs;
  • Vehicles;
  • Food;
  • Power tools;
  • Electrical devices; and
  • Tools.

Strict Liability

A product liability claim for injury to a person or damage to property caused by a defect can be based on negligence, strict liability or breach of warranty. Negligence and breach of warranty cases are more focused on the reasonableness of the manufacturer or distributor’s conduct. Strict liability cases, on the other hand, focus almost exclusively on the product itself. In a strict liability case, injured parties must demonstrate that:

  • The seller was engaged in the business of selling the specific product;
  • The product was defective;
  • The product reached the consumer without undergoing any substantial changes in its condition; and
  • The consumer sustained an injury due to the defect.

In Tincher v. Omega, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court stated that to prove the existence of a defective condition, the injured party can either demonstrate by a preponderance of the evidence that:

  • The danger was unknowable and unacceptable to the average consumer; or
  • A reasonable person would concluded that the likelihood and seriousness of harm outweigh the cost of taking precautions.

Breach of Warranty

To establish that a manufacturer breached an implied or explicit warranty, the victim must demonstrate that:

  • The seller or manufacturer made a warranty; and
  • A breach of the warranty already existed when the product left the control of the seller or manufacturer.

In Pennsylvania, under 13 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 2315 the implied warranty of merchantability is usually applied to a product, even when it is not explicitly stated in the contract. A warranty of merchantability means that it is inherently understood that a product is fit for its intended purpose. This requires that products be packaged and labeled in such a manner that consumers can ensure that they conform to the label’s specifications.


Parties injured by a defective product can also pursue a claim under the legal theory of negligence. Under this theory, a victim must not only demonstrate that the product was defective, was not substantially changed and caused an injury, but must also show that the manufacturer did not exercise reasonable care.

Contact a Dedicated Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyer Today

If you live in Pennsylvania and were recently injured by a defective consumer product, please contact van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim by calling (215) 486-0123 and a member of our legal team will assist you in setting up a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney.


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