How Long Does it Take to Settle a Product Liability Lawsuit in Pennsylvania?


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According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, defective or unsafe products kill or injure nearly 30 million people each year. Victims and their loved ones have a right to be compensated for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering caused by defective products.

What Kinds of Product Liability Claims Exist?

Most product liability claims fall under one of the following categories: design defects, manufacturing defects, and failure to warn.

A design defect is a fault in the original design of a product, meaning that even if the product was made and used properly, it would still be dangerous. Examples include heating pads that can reach temperatures high enough to cause burns or vehicles prone to rolling over in an accident.

A manufacturing defect is an error that happened during the manufacturing of a product. Examples would be a pharmaceutical contaminated at the factory or a bicycle missing a screw.

Failure to warn means that the consumer was not told how to safely use a product, or how to avoid misuse. Common examples include failing to include a “choking hazard” warning on a child’s toy, or warnings to “avoid exposure to water” on electronics. Manufacturers are not required to warn of obvious dangers, but whether a risk is “well known” or not can be a gray area.

In Pennsylvania, a company can still face liability if someone was injured while using a product incorrectly, so long as the misuse was potentially foreseeable. An example would be the common knowledge not to stick your hand into a snowblower, but a foreseeable misuse could be sticking your hand into a stalled snowblower to retrieve a stick. If a manufacturer has failed to warn that a consumer should not do this, they could be held responsible for injuries obtained in this way.

Who Can be Held Responsible in a Product Liability Claim?

In Pennsylvania, both the seller and the manufacturer can be held responsible for harm caused when their products are used as intended (with a few exceptions). A lawyer can help determine if the necessary standards have been met to file a claim, and toward who that claim should be directed.

What is the Statute of Limitations?

In Pennsylvania, you only have two years to file a claim from when you become aware that a defective product caused an injury, or when a reasonable person should have become aware. A consumer’s lack of knowledge or misunderstanding does not delay this period, except in very limited circumstances. If it has been more than two years from the time of your injury, but you only became aware recently that it was caused by a defective consumer product, consult with a lawyer to determine if you still have time to take legal action.

How Long Will It Take to Collect on a Product Liability Claim?

A product liability case's duration can vary substantially from claim to claim and depends on several factors.

Severe injuries, such as those that will have long-term or permanent effects, typically take longer to resolve because it can be difficult to determine what compensation will cover future expenses. It’s much easier to determine appropriate compensation (and a quick settlement) if the affected individual has fully recovered before filing a claim.

The complexity of proving that a product was dangerous can take a substantial amount of investigation. Proof must be found to show that the danger was not foreseeable and that the average consumer would not have noticed that the product was defective.

While it can be stressful to know that your case may take months (or longer) to complete, a good law firm can help to ensure a satisfactory resolution to a terrible situation.

What Steps are Involved in a Product Liability Settlement?

  1. Investigation Your attorneys will collect police reports, medical reports, and interview any relevant experts or witnesses who can help your case.
  2. Determine Demand Package Once you have recovered or have a better idea of what the future looks like, your attorneys will put together a demand package. This includes a letter detailing your claim's specifics and a proposed settlement amount to cover the medical bills already accrued, wages lost, pain and suffering, and any additional costs that may arise in the future due to the injury sustained.
  3. Negotiation After receiving the demand package, some companies may deny your claim in its entirety or make a substantially lower counteroffer. This starts a back-and-forth process where your lawyers will try to find an offer upon which both parties can agree.
  4. Arbitration It is common to try arbitration or mediation before going to trial. This is typically a lower-cost alternative than a civil trial and often results in a successful settlement.
  5. Civil Lawsuit If no agreement can be found, your legal team will file a lawsuit on your behalf to preserve the statute of limitations and make sure you get the compensation you deserve.

Why Choose Ross Feller Casey?

While many law firms boast about their successes with product liability cases, few can claim victories quite like the attorneys at Ross Feller Casey. We’ve been able to negotiate and litigate more than $3 billion in personal injury cases for our clients, and more than 50 of our verdicts and settlements have exceeded $10 million each.

We have a dedicated team of doctor-lawyers on staff, so we understand how complex your medical future may be after a severe injury from a defective product. We’re here to make sure you and your loved ones have the financial stability needed to get through whatever the future holds. Because of all the problems your loved ones may be facing, money shouldn’t be one of them.

Our law firm offers free case evaluations, so you don’t have to spend a dime to consult with one of our highly qualified product liability lawyers. We also work on a contingency basis, meaning that we only get paid if we win. Please call or contact our office today to set up a free consultation with a product liability lawyer.

Disclaimer: Ross Feller Casey, LLP provides legal advice only after an attorney-client relationship is formed. Our website is an introduction to the firm and does not create a relationship between our attorneys and clients. An attorney-client relationship is formed only after a written agreement is signed by the client and the firm. Because every case is unique, the description of awards and summary of cases successfully handled are not intended to imply or guarantee that same success in other cases. Ross Feller Casey, LLP represents catastrophically injured persons and their families in injury and wrongful death cases, providing legal representation in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.