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If you need to consult with an attorney, please contact the Erie County Bar Association's Lawyer Referral Service.

Other Accidents and Injuries

If you are injured as a result of another person's conduct, because of the condition of their property, or because of a machine or product malfunction, you may be able to sue for money damages to compensate you for injuries, pain and suffering, inconveniences and loss of wages.

For example, if another person intentionally or carelessly injures you or your property by striking you, the law gives you the right to sue for damages.

If you should slip and fall and injure yourself on someone's property and the condition which caused you to slip and fall was a dangerous one and was known by or should have been known by the owner or the tenant of the property, you are entitled to sue for money damages to compensate you for your injuries.

If you are injured as a result of a defective machine or as a result of a defective product, you are entitled to sue the manufacturer of that product, the seller of the product, or even the manufacturer of the component parts of that product and recover money damages for your personal injuries. This is called a product liability claim.

A claim for strict products liability requires proof, in the alternative, either of the ordinary consumer's expectations or of the risk-utility of a product. The consumer expectations test defines a "defective condition" as a condition, upon normal use, dangerous beyond the reasonable consumer's contemplations. The product is not defective if the ordinary consumer would reasonably anticipate and appreciate the dangerous condition of the product and the attendant risk of injury of which the plaintiff complains (e.g., a knife).

The risk-utility test renders a product defective if a "reasonable person" would conclude that the probability and seriousness of harm caused by the product outweigh the burden or costs of taking precautions. Stated otherwise, a seller's precautions to advert the danger should anticipate and reflect the type and magnitude of the risk posed by the sale and use of the product.

Many lawyers take slip and fall cases, intentional assault and battery cases and product liability cases on "contingent fee" basis. If you and a lawyer agree to a contingent fee, your lawyer will not charge you for his or her services if you lose the case. If you are successful, the lawyer's fees are based upon a percentage of the money obtained by way of settlement or verdict. However, some lawyers will require that you reimburse them for out-of-pocket expenses even if there is no recovery. Some lawyers also charge a smaller percentage if the case is settled before the lawyer has to file suit and perform all the work necessary to prepare or participate in a trial.  2/18