When a New Orleans resident is injured by a power tool or other manufactured product, a potential claim against the company that made the dangerous device is governed by the Louisiana Products Liability Act. This law sets forth some very specific rules regarding older manufactured products in a personal injury lawsuit.
Where problems may arise when pursuing manufacturers of older items – especially items such as power tools – is in proving that the manufacturer should have anticipated the condition of the product at the time of the injury. Under Louisiana law, the characteristic of the product that makes it unreasonably dangerous either must have existed when the product left the control of the manufacturer or must have arisen from an alteration or modification of the product that the manufacturer could have reasonably anticipated.
Alterations or modifications that a manufacturer can reasonably anticipate include normal wear and tear, and changes that a normal person could be expected to make during use of the product. It does not, however, include modification or removal of warnings on a defective product, the failure of another person – such as the original purchaser – to pass on warnings provided by the manufacturer to a later user, or changes to the product or its operation caused by lack of reasonable care and maintenance.
When considering whether to pursue a personal injury lawsuit involving an older product, how well the product was cared for and any changes made to it can be critical. In the case of items such as power tools, the fact that safety devices may have been removed, or the item was never taken care of, may prove fatal to obtaining compensation for an injury. In other cases, the product may be in essentially the same form as it was when it left the manufacturer – aside from wear and tear that should have been anticipated – and a successful lawsuit may be pursued.
Obviously, it is helpful to have an experienced personal injury attorney evaluate any case involving a dangerous product. Please feel free to call us at 504-581-6411 or 855-GERTLER with any questions.