In short, product liability is the set of written laws that hold a manufacturer or seller of a product accountable for placing a defective product into the stream of commerce. Under product liability laws, any party responsible for any part of the manufacture of a defective product can be held liable for any injuries resulting from that product’s use. This includes any seller of the defective product.
For example, in the process of creating a paint product, numerous parties are often involved in the manufacture, distribution, and sale of the product. For instance, one manufacturer may create the container for the paint, while another manufacturer creates the ingredients that make up the paint, etc. After the product is made, one party will safely distribute the paint to a paint seller.
If the resulting paint that was created is defective, such as by containing harmful paint bacteria, then any of the following parties involved may be held liable for any resulting injuries:
- The assembling manufacturer that assembled the paint together;
- The wholesaler for the paint;
- The store that sells the paint to the consumer; or
- The manufacturer of the specific part of the paint that was found to be defective.
- For instance, the machines that put the paint into the container may be found responsible for the paint bacteria and, thus, may be held liable for any resulting injuries.
What Are The Elements Of a Product Liability Claim?
In order for a consumer that was harmed by a defective product to be successful in their civil lawsuit against the party responsible for their injuries, they must typically prove the following:
- That a product has been sold to them in the stream of commerce;
- That the seller or manufacturer was under an obligation to sell or manufacture the product in such a way as to meet the ordinary expectation of average consumers;
- That at the time of sale, the product contained a design defect or a manufacturing defect;
- That the defect in the product is what caused the product to be unreasonably dangerous;
- That the defect was foreseeable (i.e., predictable), that the defect could have injured an average consumer; and
- That injury caused an average consumer to sustain quantifiable damages.
A design defect is a product defect that affects how a product is initially designed to work. The defect in the design renders the product inherently unsafe to the consumers to whom the product is sold. Design defects typically exist when the designer plans the item before the product is actually manufactured. For example, a paint can that explodes when opened is likely due to a flaw in the product design. As such, it would be considered a design defect.
Another example would be a paint product that contains a harmful substance, such as a harmful bacteria, that, when utilized, can injure the person using it. Another example is a product made up of dangerous properties, such as lead, in paint products.
A manufacturing defect is a defect that results from how the product is put together or assembled. In most manufacturing defects, before and up to the point of assembly, there is nothing defective about the product. However, the product becomes defective during the assembly process due to some mistake or incorrect assembly.
For example, a machine not being properly sanitized may introduce harmful bacteria into a paint product during the assembly process. This mistake during assembly renders the product unsafe, especially concerning the product’s potential to cause harm or injury.
What Are Paint Bacteria Lawsuits?
There have been many reports in the recent past that some types of paints contain harmful bacteria. These reports state that exposure to such bacteria can have serious adverse health effects on individuals exposed to the bacteria.
Although the bacteria can harm anyone, it was reported to be especially harmful to persons considered to be immunocompromised or taking medications that could affect their immune system.
The injuries or resulting conditions from exposure to paint bacteria can include serious illness, respiratory conditions, bacterial infection, or other similar conditions. These injuries can then lead to other injuries or exacerbate certain conditions already present in the individual harmed by the bacteria.
For example, due to bacterial risks, Sargent Art recalled 2.8 million units of craft art paint in 2016. The recall included finger paints, tempera paints, and other units. In the company’s recall statement, Sargent Art stated that the recalled “paint can contain harmful bacteria ” and exposure to the paint bacteria could “have adverse health effects in immunocompromised individuals, posing a risk of serious illness including a bacterial infection.”
Any injuries resulting from products that contain harmful bacteria may lead to lawsuits or other legal actions. It is important to note that paint bacteria exposure is often different from other paint-based claims, such as paint lead poisoning, which typically involves some form of ingestion.
What Parties May Be Held Liable for Paint Bacteria Injuries?
As noted above, many parties may be held liable for paint bacteria injuries, including the manufacturer, the distributor, the salesperson, and even the person that utilized the paint in a commercial setting.
Paint bacteria injuries can range from minor illnesses to more serious and complex medical conditions. Liability for paint bacteria incidents can usually be traced to the paint manufacturer. Then a private legal claim can then be filed under the legal theory of product liability.
As mentioned above, paint bacteria injuries may affect many consumers and, as such, may be filed as a class action suit. In most cases, liability for paint bacteria injuries will be assessed, like toxic exposure class action cases.
What Legal Remedies Are Available for a Paint Bacteria Injury?
In most cases, the legal remedies available for paint bacteria injuries will come in the form of a monetary damages award. If a plaintiff can successfully prove their case against the party responsible for their damages, the court will award them compensatory damages.
The monetary damages award will typically compensate the injured party for their losses, such as hospital expenses, medical expenses, lost work wages, loss of earning capacity, and other related expenses. Damage awards may be affected by the state’s laws in which the individual was harmed and brought their claim.
For example, in some states, punitive damages may also be available. Damages may also be different depending on whether or not the claim was brought as a class action lawsuit.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help With a Paint Bacteria Legal Claim?
As can be seen, paint bacteria injuries can range from minor illnesses to serious conditions. As such, if paint bacteria have harmed you, it is in your best interests to immediately consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer in your area.
An experienced personal injury attorney can help you determine your best legal action and will understand your state’s laws strongly. Additionally, an attorney can initiate a civil lawsuit against the party responsible for your injuries or help you find a class action lawsuit in which to participate.
Your attorney can also keep you updated if there are any changes to injury laws that might affect your legal rights and options for recovery. Finally, an attorney can also represent you in court, as needed.