Jury Standards in Defective Products Cases

A seemingly obscure legal dispute in Pennsylvania courts might have important implications if you're considering pursuing a defective products claim in Philadelphia or anywhere in the state.

The dispute essentially concerns what standard plaintiffs like you need to meet in order to win a claim against the manufacturer of a defective product that hurt you.

Under the standards that have been used by Pennsylvania courts for decades, plaintiffs can file defective products claims under a "strict liability" standard. Under this approach, your defective products lawyer need only prove that you suffered an injury as a result of a flaw in the design or manufacture of the product. You don't need to prove fault under strict liability; the manufacturer, distributor or seller can be held responsible based purely on the injury and the defect.

However, a revised legal treatise, issued by a group of legal scholars in 1998, recommended replacing "strict liability" with a negligence-based standard. In this approach, it's often necessary for a defective products lawyer to prove that the defendants were in some way negligent in their design or manufacture of the product.

Obviously, the latter standard is preferred by defendants who don't wish to be held accountable for the injuries their products cause innocent victims.

Which standard Pennsylvania courts will choose is still up in the air. A recent decision by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court indicated a preference for strict liability, but a federal appeals court has predicted that the negligence standards will soon prevail.

You can count on the defective products lawyers at Golomb Legalto keep a close eye on the legal developments in this area. We'll be able to answer any questions about defective products litigation you might have.