Public safety is one of the most important responsibilities a manufacturer has. In the production of any product, companies must ensure that it does not cause harm to customers. However, sometimes products can be defective or dangerous, and consumers may suffer serious injuries. This is where product liability laws come into play. If you recently found yourself in a similar situation, and are deciding the next steps, visit this personal injury lawyer’s website.
The following dives more into everything you need to know about product liability.
What are Product Liability Laws?
Product liability refers to holding manufacturers responsible for producing and distributing unsafe products that harm consumers. Consumers can use several legal theories to hold manufacturers accountable for their actions.
In strict liability cases, the plaintiff only needs to establish that the product was defective and caused injury or damage to them. It doesn’t matter whether the manufacturer was negligent in its design, testing, labeling, or warnings; they can still be held strictly liable for injuries.
A plaintiff could bring a negligence claim against a manufacturer if an unsafe or defective product injured them because the manufacturer failed to exercise reasonable care during the product’s production, testing, or distribution.
Breach of Warranty
When consumers purchase products from manufacturers, they expect them to operate effectively and safely as promised. A warranty breach happens when this promise is failed by either direct warranty (explicit guarantees) made about how certain aspects will work OR through implicit contracts such as merchantability (assurance regarding quality/safety consistent with normal consumer expectations).
Manufacturers must warn their customers against any dangers associated with their products – something individuals might not know when using/buying those commodities otherwise – especially if one does not have the knowledge or expertise needed about the risks of handling/using specific goods/parts/components.
Who Can Be Held Liable?
Liability in personal injury cases depends on who is involved in producing and selling consumer goods – it could technically be anyone in the chain of distribution, including:
- Manufacturers: The creators and producers of the product.
- Wholesalers: Companies that distribute products to retailers or other businesses.
- Retailers: Stores that sell products directly to consumers.
All three can be held responsible for any injuries from using unsafe products.
Types of Product Defects
- Manufacturers can be held liable for three types of defects – design, manufacturing, and warning defects.
- Design Defects: Some dangerous products arise from design defects. Design defects are inherent in the product even before manufacturing, making them naturally hazardous. For example, a car might have a poor braking system leading to accidents when drivers apply brakes.
- Manufacturing Defects: In this case, the fault lies in how a manufacturer makes a product. The finished item is different from its intended makeup or not up to the quality standards expected – enough to cause users harm – compared with correctly made editions. These flaws may happen during production or assembly due to malfunctioning machines/parts/material issues, etc.
- Warning Defects: A manufacturer has an obligation under the law if they know about dangers associated with their goods/ believe through testing that said feature’s use/handling was harmful/had risks but continued without warning customers/the public may have detrimental outcomes from purchasing/using such goods (pharmaceutical manufacturers have had many lawsuits around this). The warning must sufficiently indicate possible adverse consequences and advise on necessary precautions/usage instructions.
What Are Your Rights When Injured by Consumer Products?
If you suspect your injury relates directly to usage/instructions given & foreseeable mishaps occurred because of makers’ wrongdoing at any point in the production process – you can pursue legal action against them based on one or more theories – like strict liability/negligence/breach of warranty/failure-to-warn theories mentioned previously.
In such cases, remember the following:
- Your primary goal should be seeking immediate medical attention to ensure documentation of injuries.
- Complete product identification info/documentation (receipts, purchase location, and production details) is important.
- Never throw away an involved product due to the need in any investigation/lawsuit proceedings.
Consult with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible who will guide you on bringing your case forward and the next steps.
Product Liability Lawsuits & Compensation
A successful product liability claim against a manufacturer can result in compensation for many things, such as:
- Medical expenses, including past, current, and future bills associated with your injuries.
- Loss of income and future earning potential.
- Pain/suffering, emotional distress/trauma.
- Punitive damages are meant to punish manufacturers that neglected/disregarded consumer safety (these kinds are mostly based on negligence/any level of recklessness shown by makers).
Manufacturers have a legal and ethical duty toward their customers to produce safe products. When they do not abide by this responsibility, some laws allow them recourse if someone gets hurt due to using defective goods/products – usually could’ve been otherwise prevented through standard practices. Act quickly while maintaining all necessary documentation/evidence proving the relationship between faulty product usage and resultant injury so successful claims can be filed – ensuring compensation for both minor/major injuries/incidents no matter the kind of producer involved.