Serving Clients Throughout Upstate New York with Multiple Convenient Locations Syracuse | Oneida | Watertown | New Hartford | Binghamton | Cortland | Rochester | Oswego | Albany | Buffalo

New York Court Discusses Strict Liability for Defective Products

Car manufacturers are supposed to take measures to ensure that the vehicles they produce are safe for their intended use. All too frequently, however, latent design and manufacturing defects make products dangerous. In many instances, such defects lead to accidents that cause catastrophic injuries. In such cases, the manufacturer may be strictly liable for any damages caused, as demonstrated in a recent New York car crash case. If you were injured in a collision, it is prudent to speak to a Syracuse personal injury lawyer regarding what compensation you may be able to recover.

Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff, acting both individually and as the executor of her late husband’s estate, filed a lawsuit against the defendant automobile manufacturer and the defendant car dealership, seeking compensation for injuries sustained by her husband when the airbag of his SUV unexpectedly deployed following a collision with a deer.

Reportedly, the plaintiff asserted breach of implied warranty, strict liability, and negligence claims against the defendants, alleging that the injuries were a result of the defendant’s defective design and manufacture of the vehicle. The defendants moved for summary judgment to dismiss the complaint, which the trial court granted. The plaintiff appealed the dismissal of the strict liability and negligence claims against the defendant automobile manufacturer.

Establishing Strict Liability for Defective Products

On appeal, the court first noted that the plaintiff did not contest the dismissal of the complaint against the defendant car dealership or the dismissal of the breach of implied warranty claim, effectively abandoning any challenges to those dismissals.

The court then analyzed the defendant automobile manufacturer’s motion for summary judgment concerning the strict product liability and negligence causes of action. It reiterated the legal standard for establishing a strict product liability claim, which does not require proving a specific defect but instead necessitates showing that the product did not perform as intended and excluding other causes for its failure. The court emphasized that proof establishing strict liability would typically also establish negligence.

In this case, the court found that the defendant failed to meet its burden on the motion. Although the defendant provided expert testimony asserting that the airbag system was not defective and operated properly during the collision, it did not offer a likely cause for the unexpected deployment of the airbag that was not attributable to any defect in design or manufacturing. Consequently, the defendant did not establish its entitlement to judgment as a matter of law. As such, the court reversed the trial court ruling.

Confer with a Skilled Syracuse Personal Injury Attorney

Car accidents caused by defective automobiles can cause devastating injuries that, in many cases, are fatal, and automobile manufacturers can often be held accountable for the losses caused by such collisions. If you were hurt by a defective vehicle, it is smart to confer with an attorney about your options. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers, our skilled Syracuse personal injury attorneys have ample experience navigating the complexities of cases arising out of harm caused by defective products, and if you hire us, we will work tirelessly on your behalf. You can reach us through our form online or by calling us at 833-247-8427 to arrange a conference.

Contact Information