Who is Liable for Defective Product Injuries?

If you are injured because of the malfunctioning of a defective product or part of a product, there are options available to you to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.

To help offset the costs of medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages due to missed work, you may consider filing a personal injury claim. First, you need to determine whether the manufacturer of the product or the store selling the product is responsible for the defect.

Manufacturer Liability

The manufacturer is the first step in the chain of command for a product to ensure that it is of top quality. It is the manufacturer’s responsibility to make sure the goods they produce do not cause bodily harm to consumers, but sometimes this does not happen.

For instance, you may buy a kitchen supply item, such as a blender. The blender may be defective and overheat without warning due to an improperly formed cooling system for the motor. If touched, the blender could cause severe burns, which would be caused by the negligence of the manufacturing company.

On the other hand, the manufacturer of a component to your product may be to blame. Say, for example, you buy a car with a defective battery that explodes upon overheating. A different manufacturer than that of the car itself probably made the battery. In this case, the battery manufacturer is to blame for making a defective and dangerous product, but the car manufacturer may also be to blame for not providing a cohesive quality check of the vehicle.

You are able to file a claim against both the car and part manufacturers, under the legal rule of “joint and several” liability. This means that all of the responsible parties in your personal injury claim can be named as defendants that are both separately and together liable.

Seller Liability

Besides a product’s manufacturer, the store selling the product may also be to blame for the defect. Let’s say you are shopping at the grocery store and buy chicken that is kept in a defective cooler. The chicken gives you salmonella poisoning that requires hospitalization.

In this case, the manufacturer of the chicken did not produce a defective food product, but the store disregarded their food safety guidelines and caused the product to become defective, making them liable.

Real World Example

According to Bakersfield News, in November 2015, two California men filed separate lawsuits against both the sellers and manufacturers of electronic cigarettes. The pair claimed that the devices were defective, and that upon use, the e-cigarettes exploded in their mouths, causing severe burns to their mouths, tongues, and fingers. One of the men in the lawsuit even required amputation to part of one of his fingers. The outcome and settlements of the cases are still pending.

Hiring an Attorney

Filing a personal injury claim against a manufacturer or store can be complicated and difficult, especially if it happens to involve a large corporation. Hiring a personal injury attorney who specializes in these types of claims can help to ensure that you write a good product liability demand letter maximize your chance of filing a successful lawsuit and earn the compensation you deserve.