Surgeons using a surgical stapler during a procedure.

Who Can Be Held Liable for Defective Medical Devices?

Medical devices have come to play a vital role in U.S. health care. With advances in technology, these devices can save lives. They can also be used to greatly improve the lives of those that use them. We have come to trust and rely on medical devices and many have reaped the benefits as a result. When a medical device is defective, however, serious, even fatal, harm can occur. When this occurs, the party responsible for the defective medical device can be held liable for the harm suffered as a result of its use. While it can be a difficult determination to make, it is an essential one should you wish to pursue a claim seeking compensation for the harm you sustained as a result of the defective medical device.

Who Can Be Held Liable for Defective Medical Devices?

A claim involving a defective medical device is a type of product liability claim. In a product liability claim, pretty much anyone in the supply chain may be held liable for the product defect. Who will actually be held liable, however, will depend on the cause and nature of the defect. Sometimes, it is the designer of the device that will be held responsible. The device designer can be held responsible when the design of the product itself is defective. Even if the product was made exactly to design specifications, it would still be defective because the problem lies in the design itself. Design defects are actually not very common, but can arise if the design phase was too rushed.

In other cases, the medical device may have been designed safely but, due to a problem in manufacturing, it was made defective. When errors occur in the product’s manufacturing phase, the dangerous defect in the product was a result of that error in production. As such, the product manufacturer can be held liable for the defective medical device.

Further down the supply chain you will eventually find the distributor of the medical device. Distributors are anxious to move product. In being overly eager to sell their product, product distributors may misrepresent the product and its capabilities. They downplay or otherwise misrepresent potential risks of the product. In making false claims and misrepresentations, distributors of medical devices expose themselves to potential legal liability.

Additionally, the medical professional that made use of the device in the treatment of a patient might also be held liable for the harm caused by a medical device. Medical professionals that use such devices have a duty to warn patients about the potential dangers posed by use of the medical device. Should they fail to uphold this duty, they may be held liable for injuries that result from the use of the device.

Philadelphia Personal Injury Attorneys

Have you been injured by a medical device? You may have a product liability claim on your hands and be entitled to compensation for the harm you have suffered. Reach out to the team at Cooper, Schall & Levy for more information.  Contact us today.

Client with personal injury attorney

What is a Product Liability Claim?

Consumers rely on products they buy to be safe and free from dangerous defects. Companies that produce consumer products, in turn, have a duty to make safe products that are free from dangerous defects. Sometimes, however, a dangerously defective product makes its way into the stream of commerce and people can be seriously harmed and injured as a result. When this happens, the victims of dangerous products can seek compensation for their losses through a product liability claim.

What is a Product Liability Claim?

Pennsylvania has state product liability laws in place that can help if you are ever harmed by a defective product in the state. Through the law, you can pursue compensation for your injuries and other losses. The basis of the product liability claim can vary, but there are three main categories of product liability defects that can act as a basis for liability.


  • Manufacturing defect: When a product is defective due to an error in its making, this is considered to be a manufacturing defect. The product would have been safe but for the error in its manufacturing. This kind of defect involves strict liability which means that it does not matter whether or not the manufacturer intended to injure or knew about the defect, they can still be held liable. All that needs to be shown in the claim is that the defective product caused injury.


  • Design defect: Sometimes, even when a product is made precisely according to design specifications, it is still dangerous and it is due to the fact that there is a defect in the design itself. Pennsylvania courts mainly use either the “Consumer Expectations Standard” or the “Risk-Utility Standard.” The Consumer Expectations Standard focuses on whether the product was more dangerous than would be expected by a reasonable consumer. The Risk-Utility Standard asks whether the risk was expected considering the product’s use.


  • Failure to warn: There is often risk associated with using a product regardless of how it was designed and manufactured. The maker of a product has a duty to warn consumers of potential dangers when the product is used as intended.

If you have been injured by a defective product, you can bring a product liability claim, but time is of the essence. Pennsylvania imposes a two-year statute of limitations on such claims. This means that you have two years from the date of injury to file a claim or you risk being barred from filing the claim altogether. There are, of course, limited exceptions to the statute of limitations. One exception, for instance, involves fraudulent concealment. If the defect was fraudulently concealed, the two-year statute of limitations clock does not begin to run until the time when a reasonable person would have discovered the defect in the product caused the injury.

Philadelphia Personal Injury Attorneys

If you have been hurt by a dangerously defective product or suspect you have been hurt by a dangerously defective product, do not delay in reaching out to the trusted personal injury team at Cooper, Schall & Levy. We can help you get properly compensated for your injuries. Contact us today.

Warning: Choking Hazard on product

Product Liability Claims After the Holidays

The holidays seem to bring out the products like few other times throughout the year. Products are given as gifts. Products are received as gifts. People are buying and installing Christmas and other holiday decorations. People are using new products that they may have just received. Fortunately, manufacturers and others in the chain of product production have a duty to provide consumers with safe products. Unfortunately, this duty is not always upheld and people can be seriously injured as a result. Let us talk more about potential product liability claims that can arise during the holiday season.

Common Liability Claims After the Holidays

First, let us go over some of the basics of product liability claims. Product liability claims can arise from three different types of product defects. The first being design defects. When a product is defective in its design, it does not matter if it is manufactured exactly according to the design specifications, it will still be dangerous because the danger is inherent in the product design. 

This is different from the second kind of defect, which is manufacturing defects. When a product is dangerous due to a flaw arising from how it is made, the danger came in the form of the product not being made according to its design. With manufacturing defects, it is usually not all of an available product that is dangerous, but a bad batch of a product that was, for one reason or another, improperly made at the manufacturing level.

The third type of product defect is a failure to warn defect. If the product designer knows that there are inherent dangers in a product, even when it is perfectly designed and flawlessly manufactured, the designer has a duty to warn consumers of these dangers as well as how the product should be safely used.

Should a gift, such as a toy, have one of these kinds of defects that render it dangerous and the toy injures someone as a result, you may be able to bring a product liability claim seeking compensation for the injury suffered. This is also true of new power tools you may have received, or any dangers associated with your holiday decorations. For instance, lights to decorate houses have sometimes caused things like housefires. This could lead to a product liability claim.

Philadelphia Personal Injury Attorneys

At Cooper Schall & Levy we hope that you and yours have had a safe, injury-free holiday season. If you or a loved one has been injured by a dangerously defective product, however, we are here to provide you with zealous legal representation. Injury caused by a dangerously defective product can make more than your holiday season difficult. We are here to tirelessly pursue the full and fair compensation to which you are legally entitled. When a manufacturer, product designer, or someone else in the product distribution chain fails to uphold their duty to provide safe products and injury results, we are here for you. Contact us today.

Mechanic working on car with engine defects.

Motor Vehicle Product Liability Cases

Many of us rely on our cars, trucks, and other motor vehicles to help us safely get us from place to place. Unfortunately, defects in motor vehicles sometimes cause them to be dangerous. Far too many people find this out the hard way. Product liability cases deal with products that are dangerously flawed. One specific type of product liability cases is motor vehicle product liability. Motor vehicle product liability involves vehicles with defects that make them unsafe and cause harm to consumers. If a product does not meet ordinary and reasonable safety standards, and if a person is injured as a result, the injured party may seek compensation through a motor vehicle product liability claim.

Understanding Motor Vehicle Product Liability Cases

In recent years, you may have heard of several lawsuits involving defective motor vehicles. There have been SUVs that were prone to rolling over. A number of cars were distributed into the stream of commerce despite having tires prone to blowouts. There were also several reports of motorcycles that would shake or “wobble” when high speeds were reached. Some other common examples of motor vehicle defects that lead to product liability claims include defects in:

  • Engines
  • Electrical systems
  • Brakes
  • Tires
  • Fuel systems
  • Cruise control system
  • Body and frame

The two most common types of motor vehicle product liability claims involve defectively manufactured vehicles or vehicle parts and vehicles that are unreasonably dangerous in design. A claim involving a defectively manufactured vehicle or vehicle part means that there was some error in the making in the car or the car part. While the vehicle or part may have been safely designed, the danger arose in a manufacturing mistake. This differs from claims that involve vehicles or vehicle parts that are unreasonably dangerous in design. With this type of claim, the vehicle or part could have been perfectly manufactured, but would still be unsafe because of a dangerous design flaw.

There are several different parties that may be held liable in a motor vehicle product liability case. In fact, all parties involved in the “chain of distribution” of the motor vehicle or the motor vehicle part may potentially carry some liability. The chain of distribution refers to the path the product, in this case, the vehicle or vehicle part, takes from the design and manufacture stages all the way to the consumer. This means that potentially liable parties may include:

  • Vehicle manufacturer
  • Vehicle part manufacturer
  • Car dealership
  • Used car dealer
  • Automotive supply store

Should you wish to seek compensation pursuant to a motor vehicle product liability claim, you must be able to prove that:

  • The vehicle or part had a defect rendering it unreasonably dangerous;
  • The vehicle defect was the cause of injury;
  • The vehicle was being used in a reasonable way at the time the injury occurred; and
  • The vehicle was in the substantially same condition it was when it was sold.

Pennsylvania Personal Injury Attorneys

Defects in motor vehicles or motor vehicle parts can lead to devastating injuries. If you have been injured due to a defective motor vehicle, talk to the trusted attorneys at Cooper Schall & Levy to discuss your legal options. Contact us today.

Cooper Schall & Levy discusses what you need to prove in a product liability case.

What Do You Need to Prove in a Product Liability Case?

Dangerous product defects can cause devastating injuries to consumers. If you have been injured in such a way, you may be wondering what happens next. You may have legal recourse and seek compensation for your injuries through a product liability claim. There are, however, certain things you will need to prove to make a successful claim.

How to Prove a Product Liability Case

In order to substantiate a product liability claim, you will need to prove several things.

  • First, you will need to prove that you were injured or suffered losses. If there is no physical injury or any kind of monetary loss, then there are no damages. If there are no damages, there is no case.
  • Second, you will need to prove that the product causing your injury or loss was, in fact, defective. There are several types of product defects that you may claim. There may have been a defect in the design of the product. This means that, even if the product was perfectly manufactured according to the design, it still would have been defective. There may also have been a manufacturing defect you are claiming. This means that the product was defective in the way that it was produced or manufactured. Usually in this type of case, the product design was okay, but something went wrong in the actual making of the product. Another type of product defect is a warning defect, which exists when a product has inadequate warning labels or instructions.
  • Third, you must show that the product defect caused your injury. A product liability claim is not simply one where a person was injured when using a defective product. In this type of claim, the defect of the product must have been the direct cause of the injury or loss sustained.
  • Fourth, you must be able to prove that you were using the product as it was intended. You do not need to use the product according to the exact specifications of the manufacturer, but you do need to show that you were at least using the product in a way the manufacturer could reasonably expect an ordinary consumer to use it.

Anything else that you may need to prove to substantiate your product liability claim will depend on other things like what theory you are bringing the claim under. If you are bringing the claim under a theory of negligence or a breach of warranty, you must prove that the product seller or manufacturer owed a duty to provide a safe product to consumers. In a breach of warranty case, you would be asserting that the manufacturer violated a warranty they provided to the consumer. You will need to prove that such a warranty of the product was provided, but the warranty was violated and that violation caused injury. Lastly, you may seek to bring a product liability claim under a theory of strict liability. Under strict liability, negligence does not need to be proven. It is enough to show that the injury was directly caused by a defect in a product.

Product Liability Attorneys

As consumers, we depend on companies to produce products that are safe for our use. If you have been injured by a defective product, Cooper Schall & Levy will fight to hold the necessary parties responsible. We will fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Contact us today.

Woman signing legal papers

Amazon Liable for Products from Third-Party Vendors

Product liability claims are the result of a dangerous product causing harm to a consumer. In most cases, there has been negligence on the part of a seller, distributor, or manufacturer of a product that led to the dangerous defect that was the cause of the consumer’s injury. In strict product liability cases, however, negligence is not an issue. The seller, distributor or manufacturer of the defective product may still be held liable for the injuries the product caused, regardless of the level of care taken. In a recent Pennsylvania case, a federal court held that Amazon, the online superstore, could be held strictly liable for injuries caused by products sold by its third-party sellers.

Product Liability from Amazon

Amazon is an online shopping giant. It sells everything. Amazon sells its own inventory and also permits third-party sellers to list products for sale. The vendors usually have the option of storing their products in Amazon warehouses or shipping them directly to customers. Heather Oberdorf purchased a retractable dog leash from a third party seller on Amazon. When she was using the leash, it broke, recoiled and hit her in the face, resulting in permanent blindness in her left eye. She brought suit against Amazon for strict product liability in 2016 in Pennsylvania federal court. The U.S. federal district court dismissed her claims, determining that the third-party vendor was the party that should be strictly liable under Pennsylvania law.

The Court of Appeals for the Third District reversed the district court’s ruling. Pursuant to the four-factor test Pennsylvania courts apply to identify the seller for purposes of strict liability, the Court found Amazon to be strictly liable for causing the plaintiff’s injuries. First, the court found that Amazon was the only entity available from which the plaintiff could seek damages. Every other entity in the marketing chain was unavailable. The court found that third party vendors had the ability to hide from customers and that previous cases showed that a consumer or even Amazon was unable to locate third-party sellers when products from the third-party sellers led to customer injuries.

The court also found that the legal ability to hold Amazon strictly liable for products sold by its third-party vendors would incentivize the company to increase safety measures in which products are allowed to be sold on the site. Amazon is able, to a great extent, to control its third-party sellers and the court found that Amazon could use this to promote safety. The court also found Amazon to be better situated than the consumer to prevent the continued circulation of defective products. Amazon has the ability to receive reports of defective products and take action such as removing them from circulation.

Lastly, the court found Amazon to have the ability to cover the costs associated with compensating injury victims in its business structure. Amazon has an indemnity clause with its merchants. The company has the ability to adjust commission-based fees it charges to third-party vendors based on the risks associated with doing business with the third-party seller.

Pennsylvania Product Liability Attorneys

The Amazon case is a big win in favor of consumers everywhere. You have the right to purchase safe products that will not cause needless harm to you or your loved ones. If you have been injured by a product, the attorneys at Cooper Schall & Levy, will consult with you regarding your options and the possibility of a product liability claim to compensate you for your injuries. Contact us today.

Cooper, Schall, & Levy discuss when you can take product liability claim against a responsible party.

Product Liability

Product manufacturers owe a duty to consumers to make their products safe for consumers. Failure to make and distribute a safe product opens them up to liability. Each year, thousands of people are injured due to dangerous consumer products. If you have been injured by a defective product, you may be able to bring a product liability claim against the responsible party. With a product liability claim you can seek to recover compensation for the injuries and other losses you may have sustained as a result of the product defect.

What Are the Different Types of Product Liability Claims?

There are a vast number and variety of products that can give rise to a product liability claim. Some of the more common products who have been found with defects that have caused injury to consumers include:

  • Household appliances
  • Drugs and prescription medication
  • Medical devices
  • Cars and other types of motor vehicles
  • Food
  • Power tools

As far as a legal basis for a product liability claim, there are three main types of claims that a victim may pursue. These include:

  • Defective manufacturing: Under a defective manufacturing claim of product liability, it is being asserted that, while the product may have been safely designed, some error in its manufacturing caused it to be unsafe. The defect caused by the manufacturing error must have been the direct cause of the injury.
  • Defective design: Under a defective design claim of product liability, it is being asserted that, even if the product was perfectly manufactured according to its design, it still would have been dangerous. This is because the product design itself was dangerously flawed. The defect in the product design must have been the direct cause of the injury.
  • Failure to provide appropriate warnings or instructions: This refers to things like proper product labeling, warnings, and instructions for product use. The consumer should be put on notice as to the proper way to safely use a product and any, reasonable, potential dangers that the product poses.

There are several options for a legal theory to base a product liability claim on. For instance,

  • Negligence: A party injured by a defective product must demonstrate that the product had one of the above-described defects and that it caused the injury. The claimant must also be prepared to demonstrate that the manufacturer failed to exercise reasonable care and this negligence was ultimately responsible for the claimant’s injury.
  • Strict liability: Under strict liability, the focus is on the product itself as opposed to a failure in the duty of care of the manufacturer. With strict liability, the injured party must show that the seller was engaged in selling the product and that the product was defective. Additionally, the claimant must show that the product was not substantially changed in its condition by the time it reached the consumer. Last, but not least, the claimant must show that his or her injury was caused due to the product defect.
  • Breach of warranty: The warranty that was breached may have been implied or explicitly. In either case, the injured party must show that the seller or manufacturer made a warranty and that the breach of that warranty was already in existence when the product left the seller or manufacturer’s control.

Product Liability Attorneys Fighting for the Injured

You have the right to purchase products without being in fear that a product defect may cause you serious injury. If you have been injured by a defective product, the experienced product liability attorneys at Cooper, Schall & Levy are here to hold the responsible parties accountable. Contact us today.