When California companies design, manufacture and sell products, they’re responsible for making sure that the products are safe to use and that all risks and hazards pertaining to misuse are clearly labeled. Industry standards set the precedent for the quality of product design and manufacturing. However, some states have ruled that defendants in product liability cases cannot cite adherence to industry standards as their defense. Even when these standards are upheld, people can still be injured by defective products without taking unnecessary risks, misusing products or failing to follow manufacturer guidelines.
The effects of the Sullivan v. Werner Co. case on product liability law
In May, the Pennsylvania Superior Court reemphasized that using industry standards as a defense is neither appropriate nor applicable in any strict liability claim. Its decision in the Sullivan v. Werner Co. case pertained to an injury sustained in 2015. During this event, a steel scaffolding platform collapsed due to defective or insufficient locking pins. Manufactured by Werner Co., this platform was widely sold at Lowe’s and had similar locking pins to those being used by other scaffolding platforms of its type. The legal team of Werner Co. argued that negligence on the part of the plaintiff was the sole cause of injury in this case.
Outcome of the ruling
The determination of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court was that companies can follow all industry standards for design and manufacture and still produce items that are both defective and capable of causing serious physical harm. The decision was a huge win for those with defective product injuries and for family members bringing wrongful death suits in response to fatalities resulting from defective products. It ultimately means that evidence of adherence to industry standards could be both excluded and deemed irrelevant to a defendant’s case. As for Werner Co., it has since recalled five models of its telescoping aluminum ladders for the removal of more than 78,000 units.
If you or someone you love has been injured by a defective product, you deserve fair compensation. With this ruling, injured parties and their loved ones have a better opportunity to seek damages even when facing large and powerful corporations. Finding a reputable attorney to represent you in your negligence claim is the first step toward a fair settlement.