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Dad's T-Ball Bat Lawsuit Seeks $4.5M for Son's Injuries

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By Daniel Taylor, Esq. on September 09, 2014 12:49 PM

A New York father has filed a $4.5 million lawsuit against the makers of a plastic T-ball bat that allegedly caused his 5-year-old son to suffer severe facial injuries and permanent scarring.

The lawsuit claims that the Adjust-A-Hit T-Ball set was defectively designed, reports the New York Daily News. Daniel Ducalo was injured when a section of the plastic bat -- which adjusts in length telescopically -- came apart, sending a jagged piece of plastic into the boy's face, causing a wound that required more than 300 stitches.

What will the family need to prove in order to recover for the boy's injuries?

Product Liability Cases

When an injury is allegedly caused by a defective product, the injured person may bring a product liability lawsuit. Product liability lawsuits generally make a manufacturer or seller of a product liable for injuries caused when a product fails to meet the ordinary expectations of the consumer.

Product liability lawsuits generally involve a product that is defective in one or more of three ways:

  1. Marketing defects. Marketing defects include improper labeling, or failing to warn about dangers posed by the product.
  2. Manufacturing defects. A defect in manufacturing occurs when a product is not manufactured correctly, causing unexpected or unintended risk of injury to a user.
  3. Design defects. A design defect occurs when a product is designed in a way that makes it unsafe for its intended purpose.

Was T-Ball Bat Defectively Designed?

In this case, the boy's family is claiming that the design of the bat was defective, making it unsafe even when used correctly.

Although product liability laws vary by state, in many states a design defect lawsuit must show that it was possible and economically feasible to design the product in a way that would have reduced or eliminated the risk posed by its current design. Ducalo's lawyer told the Daily News she's lined up experts who can to testify to the T-ball bat's alleged defects.

If successful in proving the design of the bat was defective, the boy's father may be able to recover for the boy's injuries by showing that the bat's manufacturer was negligent in placing the product on the marketplace.

According to news reports, the bat's manufacturer, Massachusetts-based Franklin Sports Inc., could not be reached for comment.

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