In a negligence claim, a party involved in the making or distributing of the product failed to act in a way that a reasonably thoughtful person would act in the same situation and that failure caused the product to injure you.
Implied or Express Warranties
Claims based on warranties are limited in certain ways:
- Claims can only be brought against the seller of the product or the product's components. This means that generally, a person who leases or loans the product or its parts cannot be held responsible for your injuries.
- The product must have been defective when it left the seller's possession. Regardless of who you are making your claim against (e.g., manufacturer, retailer, or distributor) a person cannot be held responsible for a defect that came about after they sold the product or its parts unless the defect was reasonably foreseeable.
In a strict liability claim, like a claim based on a warranty, it does not matter whether the potential defendant acted carelessly or carefully; liability exists if the product was defective.
What Are the Differences between These Claims?
Warranty and strict liability claims do not require proof of the defendant's state of mind, which can be hard to prove in a negligence case. Another benefit of warranty and strict liability claims is that the defendant cannot claim contributory negligence. This means that if your conduct in using the product was negligent, the defendant might not be held responsible, even if they also acted negligently.
Are There Any Alternative Legal Claims?
In addition to the major claims based on negligence, warranties, and strict liability, legal claims for product liability can also be brought for the following reasons:
- Fraud and Deceit: When a warranty cause of action is not possible, a party may be able to bring a legal claim for fraud and deceit. A fraud and deceit claim involves an untrue statement which one party knows is untrue, and which the party makes because he intends to deceive another party.
- Negligent Misrepresentation: Manufacturers and sellers may not make false statements, misstatements, or omissions when selling their products. Manufacturers of home appliances have been found liable for making claims promising that the appliances could be used with various products, when in fact their use causes
- Willful Wrong or Nuisance: The law prevents manufacturers and sellers from placing defective products on the market. Defective products make manufacturers liable because defective products cause a clear disregard of the safety of others. In certain jurisdictions, a failure to warn about a product’s dangerousness is not considered a willful wrong, but deliberate exposure of others to hazardous material is.
Do I Need a Lawyer to Sue for Products Liability?
The reasons for choosing one kind of claim over another are complex and involve many other factors, including deadlines imposed for filing a claim and the particular facts of your case. An experienced personal injury attorney can advise you on the best options for filing a successful lawsuit.