While New Orleans product liability lawsuits involving older products can be a little more difficult, there is no bar to pursuing a claim that a product is defective just because it is old. It is easier, however, to prove that there is a defect in the design of a product when its dangerous characteristic can be shown to have existed at the time it left the control of the manufacturer.
When an injured person claims there is a defect in the design of an older product, personal injury attorneys will explore not only the condition of that product when it left the manufacturer, but also any alterations or modifications that may have occurred in the intervening time. Louisiana Revised Statute 9:2800.54(C) allows a claim for a defect in design to be pursued not only based on the condition of the product when made, but also based on any “reasonably anticipated alteration or modification”.
A “reasonably anticipated alteration or modification” has been defined to mean a change that the product’s manufacturer should reasonably expect to be made by an ordinary person. Perhaps more importantly, it also includes changes to the product arising from ordinary wear and tear. Especially in the case of potentially dangerous products such as power tools, manufacturers are required to anticipate a certain amount of wear to the product over time and protect users from potential danger arising from that wear.
It should be noted, however, that reasonably anticipated alterations or modifications do not include changes that occur because the product was poorly maintained, and did not receive reasonable care and maintenance. For this reason, it can be very difficult to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the manufacturer of an older product that was not maintained prior to causing injury.
If you have suffered an injury caused by a defective product, we would be happy to help you. Please call us at 504-581-6411 or 855-GERTLER.