A Primer on Massachusetts Product Liability Law
As a general matter, the manufacturers and sellers of goods can be held legally responsible if a product is defective or unreasonably dangerous. While there are three general types of Massachusetts product liability cases, the most common type of claim is a breach of warranty of merchantability.
The warranty of merchantability is a warranty that attaches to any good that is sold. This warranty is implied, because it attaches regardless of the language the manufacturer includes on the packaging or any warning given by a salesperson. The warranty of merchantability ensures that a product will perform as expected for the specific purpose for which it was sold.
To establish a Massachusetts breach of warranty claim, the plaintiff must prove:
- The defendant was a “merchant” concerning goods of that kind;
- The product was sold or leased;
- The plaintiff’s use of the product was foreseeable;
- The product was defective in some way; and
- The defect in the product was the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injuries.
When it comes to establishing the fourth element in a Massachusetts product liability lawsuit, there are three ways a plaintiff can proceed.
Design defect claims: A design defect claim alleges that a product suffers from a defect in the way it was designed. To succeed in a design defect claim, a plaintiff must show that the design defect was present in the product when it left the defendant’s control. Courts will consider several factors when determining the reasonableness of a product’s design, including the danger presented by the defect, the likelihood of injury, and the feasibility of a safe alternative design.
Manufacturing defect claims: A manufacturing defect claim is based on an alleged defect that occurred during the manufacturing and inspection process. These claims often compare the product at issue with similar products, noting any deficiencies. If the manufacturing deficiencies are significant enough, they will be considered a defect.
Failure to warn claims: A failure-to-warn claim alleges that a manufacturer or retailer failed to warn consumers about known hazards associated with a product. Notably, a merchant must warn consumers of the dangers related to their product even if it does not suffer from a design defect. Failure-to-warn claims are often brought in conjunction with claims alleging a design or manufacturing defect.
Massachusetts product liability law protects consumers from dangerous and defective products; however, it is a notoriously complex area of the law. Anyone injured as a result of a dangerous product should consult with a dedicated Massachusetts injury lawyer.
Discuss Your Claim with an Experienced Massachusetts Accident Attorney
If you have recently been injured as a result of a dangerous or defective product, you may be entitled to financial compensation through a Massachusetts product liability case. At the Neumann Law Group, we represent clients in all types of product liability claims, including those involving medical devices, sporting equipment, and automobiles. To learn more about how we can help you pursue a claim for compensation, call the Neumann Law Group at 800-525-6386 to schedule a free consultation today. You can also contact us online.