Product liability concerns defective or dangerous products that cause thousands of injuries every year. Personal injury laws help people receive compensation for their injuries due to defective products.
Product liability refers to a manufacturer, retailer, or seller of the product to be held liable for placing a defective product into the hands of a consumer regardless of whether they were negligent or not.
Kind of Defects That Can Cause Product Liability
There are three primary types of product defects:
- Design Defect - A product has a design defect if the design (or blueprints) of the product is unsafe. For example, if a coffee cup is designed such that the bottom melts whenever there is a hot fluid in it, it has a design defect.
- Manufacturing Defect - A product has a manufacturing defect if the product's design is sound but the method of making the product is unsafe. For example, if a desk is mistakenly assembled at the factory without several screws as called for in the design, it has a manufacturing defect.
- Warning Defect - If a product does not have sufficient instructions or warnings about its use, and you are injured as a result, the product has a warning defect. For example, if you buy a lawn mower that doesn't have safety warnings about the blade, and the blade cuts you, then there is a warning defect.
Who Are the Responsible Parties in Defective Product Lawsuit?
Liability for a product defect could be on any party in the products chain of distribution even if they were not the party that created the defect. As long as they were the party who placed the defective product in the marketplace and the product was defective when it left the hand of the defendant, the defendant may be held strictly liable. The following parties may be held liable:
- The product manufacturer
- A manufacturer of component parts
- A party that assembles or installs the product
- The wholesaler
- The retail store that sold the product to the consumer
The responsible party must actually use or sell the product in the regular course of business. A party cannot be held responsible if they were a casual seller such as a person selling the product at a garage sale.
How Can I Bring Defective Product Lawsuit?
To bring a product liability claim, the plaintiff has to prove that at some point, the product was being sold in the marketplace. In the past, the only person that could bring a prodict liability claim must have been the purchaser or the product, but now any injured person can bring a claim even if they were not the original purchaser of the product. If a product does not work properly or causes harm to the user, then any of the following parties may be liable:
- The company that designed the product
- The company that manufactured the product
- The company that sold the product
Product Liability Recovery
If you have a defective product, you may be able to recover the cost to replace the product. If the defective product also caused personal injuries, you may seek compensation for your:
- Medical Bills
- Missed Work
- Pain and Suffering
- Loss of Consortium - lost time and companionship with your spouse
- Punitive Damages - extra money to punish the defendant if they acted exceptionally irresponsibly
Do I Need an Attorney to Handle My Product Liability Case?
The law for product liability is very confusing, and you may need a personal injury attorney to help explain your rights and protect your interests. An attorney can also file a lawsuit on your behalf against the designer, manufacturer, or seller of the defective product so you can recover for your injuries.