The Importance of Meeting Evidentiary Requirements in Washington, D.C. Product Liability Cases

When someone is injured using a product in Washington, D.C., they may assume that it was their fault, and they have no course of action against anyone else. This is especially true if they have used the machine before, or if no one else was around when they were injured. Often, those injured in these scenarios will blame themselves. However, these instances may be suitable for a product liability lawsuit. Washington, D.C. law allows individuals injured while using a dangerous or defective product to sue the product’s manufacturer. If successful, these suits may allow injured victims to recover for lost wages, pain and suffering, and past and future medical expenses.

However, potential plaintiffs need to understand how complicated these cases may be. It is usually not enough to show that you were injured while using the product. Typically, the plaintiff must prove several other elements to hold a manufacturer liable. The exact requirements depend on what type of products liability claim the plaintiff is making, but one important one that comes up often is having to prove that the product was defective or dangerous at the time that it was sold.

Recently, a federal appellate court considered a case that hinged on this requirement. According to the court’s written opinion, the product in question was a tube-end forming machine. The user would load tube into the machine, and then press a foot pedal to activate the hydraulic press, which brought clamps around the tube and shaped the end of the tube. The machine at issue was sold originally by the manufacturer in 1992 but passed along to several companies before being sold to the plaintiff’s employer in 2014. When sold in 1992, there was a finger guard to prevent a user’s fingers from being crushed by the machine, but the original guard was lost over the years and replaced with a new guard that only worked for a certain size of tube.

In 2014, the plaintiff was using the machine for a smaller tube, and thus the guard did not prevent him from having his fingers inside the machine, and they were crushed. The plaintiff then brought suit against the manufacturer, alleging that there was a design defect, that they failed to warn about it, and that they negligently manufactured the machine. The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiff did not provide sufficient evidence that the product was defective or dangerous when it was initially sold in 1992, a requirement for his claims to succeed. The motion was granted, and the plaintiff appealed. However, the appellate court agreed with the defendants that the plaintiff did not have evidence pertaining to the original guard, which was needed to hold the manufacturer liable. As a result, the plaintiff lost the case, and was unable to recover for his injuries.

Contact a Washington, D.C. Personal Injury Lawyer

If you or someone you love has recently been injured while using a product or machine, you may be able to sue the product’s manufacturer to recover for your injuries through a Washington, D.C. product liability lawsuit. Let Lebowitz & Mzhen, Personal Injury Lawyers, help you with this challenging process. Our attorneys are dedicated, compassionate, and knowledgeable, and will work with you at every step of the way. To learn more, call today at 800-654-1949.

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