If I modified a product and it caused me to be harmed, can I file a product liability case?
When a person has been injured by a product that was hazardous or defective, and pursues a case against the manufacturer or distributor, the alleged negligent party might claim that the product was used incorrectly or modified in a way that caused it to be dangerous. This is the most common defense. No two cases are exactly alike; therefore, it is not possible to provide you with an absolute answer. That being said, in some cases it is possible to pursue damages after a product has been modified.
Misusing a Product
If you have used a product in a way that is against the intention of the manufacturer, it may be considered misuse. For example, if you attempted to iron your hair to get it straight, and your hair caught on fire leading to burns on the scalp, it would likely be considered misuse. Filing a claim for compensation may be very difficult.
In general, misuse is a vague term that typically will need to be reviewed by a good lawyer and often a judge who will decide whether or not the misuse was unreasonable. If you believe you misused a product and were harmed because of the misuse, you should talk with a product defect lawyer from a firm like MartinWren, P.C.
Modifying a Product
Misusing a product and modifying a product are two different actions. A modification is generally seen to be a change or alteration to the product so that it is no longer the same as it was when first purchased. The most common way for a product to be modified is when a device’s safety mechanism is removed. For instance, taking off a safety from a chain saw or gun.
If a defendant can prove the modification of the product was unreasonable, it may be a challenge to recover damages. For example, if a safety lock was removed from a powertool, and the plaintiff knew it was dangerous to do so, they may be unable to file a claim. On the contrary, if the safety lock was easy to remove or placed in a way that was causing complications or a potential hazard, and the plaintiff removed it, a claim might be pursuable.
As you can see, there are a lot of factors to consider when determining whether or not you can file a claim for modifying or misusing a product. Cases like these are often very complicated and should be overseen by a qualified product defect lawyer.