Each year, defective or dangerous products cause hundreds of thousands of injuries in the United States alone. By determining who is responsible for a defective or dangerous product, product liability law works to protect those who sustain injuries.
Product liability cases are very complicated and are seldom settled without extensive litigation. Many cases require expert involvement beyond a product liability attorney, including accident reconstruction experts, engineers, human factors experts and more. Read on to learn what you need to know about product liability and when to seek the assistance of a professional.
Product Liability: The Basics
Product liability can be confusing, but in its simplest form is designed to protect consumers from defective or dangerous products. Let’s say you are using a product that fails in its ordinary course. While using this product, you suffer injuries. Under product liability law, the manufacturer or supplier of the product may be liable for your injuries and damages.
When it comes to product liability, there is no federal law. In most cases, product liability claims require different elements to be proven in order to present a successful claim. Ultimately, the majority of product liability claims are based on state laws, typically under the theories of:
Breach of Warranty — When the promise between a consumer and manufacturer is broken, or if the product is not as expected, the warranty may be considered violated.
Consumer Protection Claims — This group of laws is designed to ensure the rights of consumers. If these rights are violated, a consumer protection claim may be warranted.
Negligence — This area of law involves harm caused by carelessness. The theory of negligence is often used in product liability cases.
Strict Liability — Strict liability makes a person legally responsible for the damage and loss caused by their acts and omissions, regardless of the presence of negligence.
Types of Defects In Products
In order for a plaintiff to have a product liability case, he or she must prove that the product that caused an injury was defective when it left the hands of the manufacturer and/or seller, and that the defect made the product unreasonably dangerous. When it comes to defects in products, there are three types of defects that could cause injury under the responsibility of the manufacturer or suppliers. These defects include:
Design — Design defects are flaws within a product’s actual design. These are present in a product from the beginning before it is even manufactured.
Manufacturing — Manufacturing defects occur while the product is being made.
Marketing — Improper labeling, false claims, poor instruction or insufficient safety warnings are all example of marketing defects.
Who Is Responsible?
For product liability to exist, the product must have, at some point, been sold in the marketplace. In many cases, a contractual relationship (also known as privity of contract) also had to exist between the individual who was injured by a product and the supplier of the product.
In many states today though, this is no longer a necessary requirement, which means the injured person does not have to be the purchaser of the product in order to recover damages. This means, as long as the product was sold, any person who could have been injured by a defective or dangerous product, can recover damages for his or her injuries.
Considering there are lots of people within a product’s chain of distribution, determining where the responsibility lies can be difficult.
How Can I Prepare for My Product Liability Case?
Preparing for a product liability case can be stressful, but there are steps you can take to ensure your case is successful. If you were the original purchaser of a product, be sure to save any documents regarding the transaction. This includes receipts and copies of any warranties you may have been provided with when you purchased the product. These documents may seem small, but they are significant and can open the door to recovering damages on different theories of law.
It is extremely important that you keep the product in its failed state. Do not allow anyone to take the defective or damaged product until a legal professional has had the opportunity to examine it.
Product Liability Attorneys in Pasco County
If you were injured by a defective or damaged product, the manufacturer of the product may be liable for your injuries and other damages. Because product liability cases are extremely complicated, it is important you speak with a legal professional right away. At Laporte, Mulligan & Werner-Watkins P.A., our team of legal professionals are experienced with product liability cases and can help you through this trying time. Contact us today to receive your free consultation by phone or at our New Port Richey office.