A hand tool is a generic term that can be used to refer to a wide range of products. In general, a hand tool is usually defined as a tool that is powered by hand, as opposed to electricity or some other power source. For instance, a wood saw is a type of hand tool, whereas a chainsaw is normally powered by a gas engine or some sort of electrical source like a battery.
Some other common examples of hand tools may include the following:
- Levels; and
- Tape measures.
Basically, any version of a tool that you would typically find in a toolbox will most likely be classified as a hand tool.
Although hand tools are not considered to be as dangerous as power tools, they can still cause injuries. For example, a consumer can suffer injuries from a hand tool if they do not exercise the proper precautions when using it or if the hand tool itself is defective.
To learn more about hand tool injuries and whether you can recover monetary damages for injuries suffered in a hand tool incident, you should contact a local personal injury lawyer for further legal advice.
Can A Manufacturer Be Liable For Injuries Caused By Hand Tools?
It is possible for consumers to hold the manufacturer of a defective hand tool liable for any resulting injuries. For example, a manufacturer can be held liable for monetary damages if the defect in the hand tool was caused by an act carried out by the manufacturer. A manufacturer can also be held liable for errors that occurred during the manufacturing process or for any other defects of which the manufacturer was or should have been made aware.
The reason for this is because manufacturers have a duty to make a hand tool safe enough to be used by the average consumer before it enters the stream of commerce. If the manufacturer fails to make the hand tool safe for consumer use and distributes or sells the hand tool regardless of this fact, then they can be held responsible for breaching this duty by consumers who suffer injuries.
This entire concept is known as a manufacturing defect. Manufacturing defects are one of the three main types of claims that may form the basis of a product liability lawsuit. In such cases, the injured party will need to submit evidence that proves that the manufacturer is at fault for causing the defect in the product. This usually involves demonstrating the elements for one of the three following causes of action in these lawsuits.
The three causes of action include:
- Strict liability; or
- Breach of warranty.
Out of the three causes of action in the above list, manufacturers are typically found responsible under a theory of negligence. This essentially means that the manufacturer failed to exercise their duty of reasonable care by not preventing a product from becoming defective during the manufacturing process. Alternatively, it can also mean that the manufacturer failed to warn consumers about the risks of using a certain product.
What Do I Have To Prove To Recover For Hand Tool Injuries?
In order for a plaintiff to recover monetary damages for an injury that was caused by a defective hand tool, they must be able to prove the following elements:
- That the plaintiff used the hand tool in the way it was intended to be used when they were injured; and
- That there was either a design, manufacture, or duty to warn defect which made the hand tool unsafe for its intended use.
On the other hand, if the plaintiff used the hand tool in a way that was considered negligent and in a manner that was both unforeseeable and departed from the hand tool’s intended use, then the manufacturer will most likely not be held liable for any resulting injuries to the plaintiff. The reason for this is because in this scenario it would be the plaintiff’s own negligent actions that caused their injuries, not a defect in the product.
In general, the manufacturer of a product will usually not be held liable for a plaintiff’s injuries when they are caused by the plaintiff’s own negligence. Furthermore, the manufacturer of that product may also continue to make and distribute the product since it is not actually defective. Basically, unless a product is flawed, the manufacturer does not have a duty to warn or stop selling it simply because a safer model is available.
Can A Manufacturer Or Seller Be Liable For Failure To Warn Of Defects?
Depending on which entity was responsible for warning consumers of possible defects in the product, the manufacturer and/or the seller can be held liable for any resulting injuries. The reason for this is because general law principles state that there is a duty to warn and protect consumers from potential risks of using a particular product. Thus, both the manufacturer and seller have an obligation to notify consumers of product defects that may arise over time.
In addition, distributors, wholesalers, retailers, and any other entities within the chain of distribution will also have a duty to notify consumers of the risks associated with a specific product that they learned about directly from the manufacturer or designer.
The injured party will also need to prove that the manufacturer had a duty to warn consumers about a latent defect in the product in order to prevail in a product liability lawsuit. Proving the notice element of the case will help to bolster the injured party’s claim that the hand tool did in fact have a defect; namely, a warning defect.
It should be noted, however, that many jurisdictions have adopted a statute known as the “simple tool” rule. The rule states that a manufacturer need not warn of any dangers in a product that are blatantly obvious. This is because any defects in a simple tool that are readily apparent will also be obvious, widely known, or commonly expected by the average consumer.
Should I Consult An Attorney About Hand Tool Injuries?
The injuries that you can sustain from working with hand tools could potentially cause serious bodily damage that may last for the rest of your life. Lawsuits that arise from hand tool injuries often involve a complex collection of state laws that can vary widely by jurisdiction. Therefore, if you need assistance with filing a claim that involves a hand tool injury, then it may be in your best interest to hire a local defective products lawyer for further legal guidance.
An experienced consumer lawyer will be able to assist you in performing legal research and gathering legal evidence that can be used to support your case. Your lawyer will also be able to recommend other options of legal recourse aside from bringing a lawsuit and can explain how the laws in your state may affect the results of your case.
If you decide to move forward with a lawsuit, your lawyer can help you draft and file the necessary legal documents in court as well as can review any incoming paperwork from the opposing party. Additionally, your lawyer can provide legal representation in court and can ensure that you receive the proper remedies based on the facts of your case.
Finally, if there are other individuals who have suffered the same hand tool injuries, your lawyer can assist you in either joining or bringing a class action lawsuit against the appropriate entity as well.