Product manufactures are required to ensure that the products they release to market are safe for their intended use. This means that when someone is injured due to a dangerous or defective product, they may be entitled to monetary compensation through a Virginia product liability lawsuit.
There are three basic theories under which a Virginia product liability claim can be filed: design defect, manufacturing defect, and failure-to-warn. In some cases, all three claims can be made. The first two types of claims are fairly self-explanatory. However, failure-to-warn claims are a little more complicated. A recent federal appellate case discusses the plaintiff’s failure-to-warn claim against a crane manufacturer.
The Facts of the Case
The plaintiff was a crane operator working on a job that required he move the bow of a large boat. In order to move the bow, the plaintiff worked with two other operators to perform a tandem lift, where the three cranes would work together to move the bow. Initially, the move went according to plan; however, mid-way through the lift the plaintiff’s crane shifted out of place.
As the plaintiff’s crane shifted away from the other crane, it began to lean forward. This caused one of the 18,000-pound counterweights to slide off the stack and onto the operator’s cabin. The force from the counterweight falling on the cabin caused the plaintiff to be ejected from the crane, and he fell to the concrete floor eight feet below. As a result of the fall, the plaintiff suffered serious and lifelong injuries.
The plaintiff filed a failure-to-warn claim against the manufacturer of the crane, claiming that it failed to warn users about the risk of injury when the counterweights slid off the stack. The case was argued in front of a jury, which ultimately returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiff. The crane manufacturer appealed.
On appeal, the manufacturer claimed that the jury erred when it found its warning was defective. The manufacturer cited the warning included on the crane, which warned users to use the crane only on level ground, and that death or serious injury could result if the warning was not followed.
The court disagreed with the manufacturer. The court explained that in a failure-to-warn analysis, the manufacturer’s included warning must be specific. Here, the court noted that the manufacturer’s warning did not mention the possibility of the counterweights shifting or tipping, or the fact that they could land on top of the operator’s cabin. Thus, the court held that the jury was within its right to find that the warnings were inadequate. And as a result, the court affirmed the verdict.
Have You Been Injured by a Dangerous Product?
If you or a loved one has been injured while using a dangerous or defective product, you should contact the Schupak Law Firm. Attorney Sidney Schupak has decades of experience representing injury victims in cases against those responsible for their injuries. We handle cases across the Commonwealth, including Virginia product liability cases, car accident claims, and wrongful death cases. To learn more, call 702-491-7070 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case with Attorney Sidney Schupak today.
See More Blog Posts:
Court Dismisses Plaintiff’s Slip-and-Fall Case Against City Based on Plaintiff’s Failure to Show the City Knew of the Hazard, Virginia Injury Lawyers Blog, August 6, 2018.
Court Discusses Whether Employer’s Insurance Company Was Liable for Damages Caused by Employee’s Drunk-Driving Accident, Virginia Injury Lawyers Blog, August 31, 2018.