The branch of law which deals with defective products is called product liability. Product liability laws hold the designers, manufacturers and vendors of products liable for any harm that comes to the buyer and/or user of the product as a result of defect in the product itself. Under the law, a product can be most anything, from medical instruments to food items to automobile components, and everything in between.
What is a Product Defect?
For the purposes of product liability law, the term “defect” is defined as any flaw present in the product. In order to have a winnable product liability case, you must have sustained an injury due to a defect in the product. There are three types of product defects under liability statutes.
- Manufacturing Defects occur because of problems in the manufacturing process, including poorly functioning equipment, faulty materials, and quality inspection failures. If for example, you have a wooden oar and suffer a boating injury because the oar breaks as a result of a flaw in the wood from which it was created, you could file a product liability lawsuit alleging manufacturing defects in the product.
- Design Defects result from a problem with a product’s design, which often includes the types of materials selected for a particular product. Design flaws may not initially be obvious, but most product liability cases of this type argue that design testing was not sufficient enough to discover the flaw and therefore the designer is liable for any injuries that result from the defect.
- Failure to Warn - defects of this type are actually a defect in product warning or safe use documentation. In other words, the defect is not in the product itself but rather the manufacturer’s failure to provide sufficient information on the proper and safe use of the product. These kinds of cases often depend upon whether a warning label or other documentation came with the product at the time of purchase.
Product Liability Injuries
Every year, thousands of people are injured due to the use of manufactured products. Some injuries occur in the normal use of products which are perfectly sound; however, other injuries result from flaws or defects present in the products themselves. If you suffer an injury as a result of a product defect, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.
Product Liability Lawsuit Categories
Lawsuits filed under product liability can include a number of different arguments, but they generally fall into three primary categories:
- Negligence Cases - in these types of cases, you must prove that the designer, manufacturer or vendor of a defective product should have reasonably known that the product could result in injury and failed to take steps to prevent injuries from occurring. In most negligence cases, injured individuals show the producers or sellers of faulty products knew there was a problem or should have known because the information about the issue was available to them.
- Strict Liability Cases - this sort of product liability case deals with the production and sale of unreasonably dangerous products. It does not require you to prove any negligence on the part of the producer or vendor. It only requires that there be a manufacturing or design defect that has resulted in a product that is unsafe for even proper use for its intended purpose.
- Breach of Warranty - product liability cases that fall into this category deal with the failure of a product characteristic that is under a warranty. If the manufacturer has put product warrants in place and the product then fails in one of those warranted characteristics and causes an injury in the process, the manufacturer can be held liable.
Product Liability Laws and Arguments
Though there are some minor differences in state laws regarding product liability lawsuits, the basic arguments for a strong product liability case are essentially the same regardless of where you may live. In order to make a strong case for product liability you must establish the following:
- You must prove the product was defective in some manner.
- You must show clear evidence that you were harmed in some way as a result of the product defect.
- You must show you sustained an actual injury because of the product defect.
- You must establish the duty of the designer, manufacturer or vendor to create or sell a safe product to you.
Do You Have a Product Liability Case?
In most instances, the responsibility or duty of product designers, manufacturers and vendors is a given, as it is the legal duty of all those who put products onto the market to ensure they are safe for use or consumption. Nonetheless, the argument must be presented even if it is often relatively easy to prove.
The burden of proof that makes or breaks a product liability case therefore lies in the other arguments which must be clearly established. Consulting a product liability attorney regarding the specific circumstances of your case can help you decide if your personal injury lawsuit is worth pursuing and whether it is one which will entitle you to sufficient compensation to warrant your efforts.
Hiring a Product Liability Attorney
Product Liability or Defective Product lawsuits can be rather difficult to comprehend. If you think you may be entitled to compensation due to a product liability, you should contact a product liability attorney as soon as possible.
These lawyers work on a contingency basis and are not paid unless your claim is successful. Please fill out the free evaluation form located on this site for a free consultation with a product liability lawyer in your area.