If a product is defective in its design, manufacture, or warning about dangers, then the user or purchaser may become injured as a result. If the defective product was the cause of the injury, then the purchaser may recover for his injuries.
Any person injured by a defective product can sue the manufacturer of the defective product and potentially the party responsible for repairing the product. The injured party may also sue the seller of the product, including wholesalers or distributors responsible for getting the product from the manufacturer to the retailer, even if the seller did not cause the defect. Some states even allow a victim to sue a seller of used goods, depending on the facts of the case.
How Do I Prove a Defective Product Claim?
There are four different theories in where you can bring a products liabilities claim if you have been injured or suffered damages because of a defective product:
- Breach of Express Warranty: You might have a claim for a defective product if the defect in the product violated a express warranty that was guaranteed by the manufacturer.
- Breach of Implied Warranty: If the product did not have an express warranty, the product may still have implied warranties. An implied warranty does not have to be expressly written or guaranteed by the manufacturer. An implied warranty is a warranty that a product will be fit for the purpose for which it was sold for.
- Strict Product Liability: A strict liability product defect means that the product that was bought by the purchaser was defectively designed, manufactured, or had lack of warnings which in result caused injury to the consumer.
- Negligence: In order to prove negligence, the consumer of the product must show that the defendants were not reasonably careful in making or distributing the product and this carelessness caused the consumer injury.
How Do I Win a Defective Product Injury Suit?
The good news for consumers is that most courts hold defective product injury to strict liability. It does not matter what the producer’s intentions were or how careful the producer was, even if the defect was latent, the producer is liable for any injuries the product causes if the product was used correctly by the consumer. It is the product, not the manufacturer, which is on trial. As such, the consumer only has to prove these elements to win a defective product injury case:
- A defect existed when the producer last had control over the product
- Consumer used the product properly
- The product’s defection cause the injury
- The injury is severe enough to warrant recovery
Although defective products are held to strict liability, the use of strict liability does not prevent claims of careless design or creation from being brought. Similarly, a lawsuit can also claim that the product failed to work as promised.
What Defenses Might a Manufacturer Raise against Me?
There are a number of defenses a manufacturer could raise if sued. These defenses include:
- The consumer did not use the product properly
- The product did not cause the injury
- The product was not defective when the manufacturer released the product into the market
- The consumer consented to using the product knowing that use of the product might be dangerous
- The consumer was engaging in behavior which contributed to the injury
Manufacturers and sellers also have a defense in this type of injuries where the user of the product used the product for a while after purchase and they became aware of the defect, but continued to use the product. If it appears that the condition of the defect or the way the product was used made it so obvious that the defect was present and the consumer disregarded the defect, the plaintiff may have assumed the risk and may have given uo the right to claim injury damages.
What If the Defective Product Was Part of a Larger Product?
Sometimes the defective product is part of a larger product. For example, perhaps the tires of an automobile are defective. In that instance, the person injured as a result of the defective tires may sue the car manufacturer and the tire manufacturer.
Should I Contact a Defective Products Lawyer?
If you or a loved one has been injured by a defective product, you should speak to an attorney immediately to learn more about preserving your rights and remedies. For example, a consumer lawyer will know to immediately preserve the defective product, even if it has been damaged. Certain defective products may be part of a defective product class action lawsuit.