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Worker sues, alleges defective product caused blindness

Power tools have been the subject of many product liability claims over the years. Each product is usually a result of a unique design, with the variety of purposes being almost endless. Regarding product liability law in West Virginia and other states, a defective product usually involves a manufacturing flaw, a design defect or a failure or inadequacy of warning. A design defect indicates that the design of the product presents an unreasonable danger to the end-user.

A manufacturing flaw generally applies to a product's dangerous condition caused by failing to follow the proper required design. Either a design defect or a manufacturing flaw can be the basis of proving a defective product in a product liability case. Liability can also be independently based on the manufacturer's failure to affix an adequate warning regarding the dangerous condition of the product.

In a case filed in a federal district court in Pennsylvania, a former worker has sued the maker of an air-powered cutting tool whose cut-off wheel broke loose and sent a piece of it flying into his face, right eye and skull. He claims it made him blind. It's unclear if the blindness is partial or total but it is alleged to be permanent.

The lawsuit alleges that the tool had a design defect, was manufactured with a defect and that the manufacturer did not inspect to find and remove it. The suit also claims that the manufacturer failed to warn of the product's dangerous condition. These claims are part of the plaintiff's assertions of negligence against the manufacturer but the complaint also contains a count for strict liability.

The strict liability count alleges that the product contained a defect that was unreasonably dangerous to a consumer user, that the defective product was placed in commerce, and that it was used by the plaintiff in the manner intended, without making modifications to the product. It alleges that the defect caused the plaintiff's injuries. Those allegations generally comport with similar product liability principles that would be asserted in a West Virginia claim.

Source: Pennsylvania Record, French manufacturing co. sued by man who suffered blindness due to product defect, Jon Campisi, Dec. 31, 2013

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