Product Liability Reform has affected many attorneys, consumers, and experts negatively while failing in its goal of greater American competitiveness. This issue of Forensic Clues is dedicated to addressing the problems of tort reform, how this affects you, and what you as an attorney can do to reduce your costs and increase your chances of a successful product liability case, assuming that the case involves a legitimate product defect.
An attorney involved with crate litigation might readily recognize the need for a packaging expert, yet, not be sufficiently aware of the specific knowledge and capabilities that best qualify that expert.
According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC), there are approximately 10,000 golf car related injuries requiring emergency room treatment in the US each year. One significant mode of injury in golf car accidents is passenger ejection, which can lead to serious injuries, especially of the head. Based on CPSC statistics, roughly 35% of golf car accidents involve a person falling out of the car. In addition to ejection accidents, at least 10% of golf car accidents involve a rollover and statistics indicate that such accidents are roughly twice as likely to lead to injuries requiring a hospital stay as non-rollover accidents.
According to Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) accident estimates, tens of thousands of stepladder accidents requiring emergency room treatment occurred annually in the United States. Approximately 85-90% of these accidents involve the user falling from the ladder and 8-9% of these injuries are serious enough to require that the victim be admitted to a hospital. In addition to posing a severe health concern, these accidents have significant loss-of-wages and high medical expense implications.
Before expending the effort necessary to reverse engineer a device or object, it must be definite that the object under study is not covered by one or more patents. This avoids a dispute over patent violations. Once it has been established that no patent coverage exists, one can use multiple techniques to reverse engineer a product. These are summarized below:
The cracked tank was first inspected in the "as received" condition. In this condition it was cracked, but it was still whole. Next, the failed tank was separated by pulling it apart. This was done to expose the fracture surfaces of the main crack. This allowed for a complete failure analysis and for a determination of where the crack initiated.
Glass fractography is the most effective method for determining why a glass object, such as a bottle, failed. This technique consists of examining the fracture surfaces of the failure for artifacts such as Wallner lines and using them to trace the crack back to its origin. Once the origin has been identified, it can be examined in detail with a microscope to determine the cause of the failure.
The Goldhaber Warnings Report: In the last issue of this newsletter, I listed the major components found in most warnings along with making several suggestions that should help improve a warning’s conspicuousness and make it more likely to gain the attention of the product’s user at the time of use. The following is an example of a warning that
The Goldhaber Warnings Report: In the last issue of this newsletter, I listed four key questions that must be answered when conducting a warnings review. Answers to these questions, as well as following the detailed steps I now provide, should help you determine whether or not you need to warn or, if you already warn, whether or not your warning(s) is/are adequate