Practice AreaDefective Products Liability

What constitutes a defective product?

Defective Product Liability

What is Meant by the term “Defective Product”?

Accident Lawyer Hawaii - DeadlinesA “defective product” for product liability purposes is one that poses an unreasonable risk of harm and which causes an injury or damage as a result of the failure in the product or its labeling. The manufacturer and others involved in the chain of distribution of the product that caused the injury are generally liable for injuries that a defective product causes. The courts in Hawaii, like in many other states, allow a personal injury claim to be pursued by a person who is injured by or incurs loss due to a “defective product”. These claims are called “Product liability” claims and are also known as defective product claims. Generally if the accident occurred in Hawaii, you will want to obtain the services of a Hawaii products liability lawyer to help you with such a claim.

Defective Products Products Liability Claims in Hawaii

Deadlines to File Products Liability/ Dangerous Product Claims

The deadline for most dangerous product claims in Hawaii is two (2) years from the date of the injury caused by the product. It should be noted, however, that there are exceptions to this rule. There are some other exceptions which may shorten the time and other exceptions which may provide some additional time in certain cases. The courts have been flexible in creating exceptions to the two year rule in situations where dangerous products cause injuries which do not appear for years after exposure to the product and other dangerous products cause injuries which are not connected to the product by medical science for years after the exposure. Generally the date of the injury is not deemed to have occurred until (1) exposure to the product, (2) injury from the product and (3) reason to know of the connection between the exposure and the injury have all three occurred. In some cases where a manufacturer has deliberately misled the public as to the safety of its product, the deadline for filing the product liability claim may be longer still. You must file your claims in court prior to the expiration of such deadlines, or your claims may be lost — regardless of their merit. To be wise it is recommended that you contact a product liability attorney or defective product lawyer immediately after an accident involving a product which gives rise to injuries occurs. Please do not hesitate to :

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Defective Product Liability Claim Information

Generally a product liability claim arises where a defective product has caused injury. A product is defective if it poses an unreasonable risk of harm. A product may be defective in design or in manufacture. The definition of a product is pretty broad, and it can even include components of a building such as an escalator. Leong v. Sears Roebuck and Co. Hawaii Supreme Court Case No. 20865 (December 14, 1998).

The absence of a warning of danger may be a defect and a warning which is deficient to provide a consumer with basic safety information may also be a defect. A victim does not need to be the owner or purchaser of the product in order to make a claim. However, if a victim is found to have been negligent in using a defective product (ie. to have failed to use ordinary care), it may reduce or completely defeat any recovery available under a products liability claim.

Examples of Defective Product Claims

Some examples of dangerous products which have been led to successful products liability claims include: dangerous products like aerosol cans which explode or otherwise injure users and/or bystanders, an appliance or other electrical device which gives an electrical shock or which ignites or causes nearby materials to catch on fire, asbestos, medical devices which fail or which otherwise cause serious injury, medications with serious undisclosed side effects, vehicles which are unsafe to operate, equipment which comes apart causing injury when used, products which cause injury due to radiation exposure, equipment without safety shields, children’s toys which endanger the child, furniture which comes apart or collapses during use, highly flammable fabrics in clothing, products which violate OSHA or other state or federal regulations, products which fail to comply with UL or CPSC standards and products without warnings of hidden dangers, etc.


Court Cases regarding product liability Defective Product Claims

This website has an extensive commentary on Product Liability cases both in Hawaii and on the mainland. The links below will take you to specific topics in the law of products liability.

Products Liability Hawaii Cases & Comment

Spoilation of Evidence claims in Products Liability Actions

STENDER v. VINCENT, January 31, 2000 The Hawaii Supreme Court holds that in an appropriate case even if a party was not at fault a trial court can give an adverse inference jury instruction (on the issue of liability) as a sanction for spoilation of evidence (such as the loss or destruction of the product [a motor vehicle] involved in the accident). Moreover, the court finds that in this case, the trial court was also required to exclude volumnious discovery responses submitted too late for the opposing party to have a reasonable opportunity to review and respond (thousands of documents submitted just after the discovery cutoff).

Fraudulent Concealment of Evidence claims in Products Liability Actions

Living Designs v. Dupont (one of the Bentlate cases), December 5, 2005 The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a summary judgment decision rendered by a visiting judge in the District Court of Hawaii and remanded the case for trial following the recent case of Matsuura v. Du Pont, 330 F.Supp.2d 1101 (2004) (Benlate discovery and settlement fraud). The law regarding the settlement agreements which had been obtained by Dupont while Dupont was concealing evidence related to Bentlate had been the subject of 3 precedential certified questions answered by the HI Supreme Court in Matsuura v. Du Pont, 102 Hawai’i 149 (2003) but Judge Real had not waited for those decisions before ruling against the claimants who alleged settlement fraud. The 9th Circuit Court ordered that the case on remand be reassigned from Judge Manual Real because of serious improprieties he committed as described in their opinion. opinion.

Links relating to Product Liability  Defective Products Claims

Product Liability Links
A listing of government and private websites involving products liability and defective products.