Manufacturers Liability for Unsafe or Defective Products


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Defective products can be dangerous, and even fatal, to consumers.  Manufacturers may be liable for damages caused by defective products even if the manufacturer took all possible steps to prevent the defects and had no knowledge of the defects when the product was sold to the consumer. 

When is a Manufacturer Liable for Defective Products?

Generally, a manufacturer is liable for defective products if the victim, or the victim’s survivors, can prove a products liability case.  The victim, or the victim’s survivors, must prove that there was a product design defect, a manufacturing defect or a marketing defect that made the product defective, or specifically that there was a:

  • a problem with the design of the product that caused it to be dangerous (product design defect);
  • a problem that occurred during manufacturing that caused the product to be made differently than it was designed to be made and that resulted in a dangerous condition (manufacturing defect); or
  • a failure to warn about known dangers, or dangers that should be known (marketing defect).

In addition to the common law products liability claim described above, victims may also be able to sue under a breach of warranty or negligence theory of law.   State statutes may also provide consumers with protection against defective products.

How to File a Product Liability Claim Against a Manufacturer

You can file at least two types of claims against a manufacturer.  First, you can file a products liability lawsuit for a defective product, as described above, by working with a products liability attorney to file a complaint in state court.  If you are successful in your lawsuit, or if you settle with the defendant(s), you may be able to recover damages.

Additionally, you may have the right to file a complaint with the federal consumer protection agency, the FTC.  The FTC, in its role as the federal consumer protection agency, can investigate complaints and prosecute, but it cannot secure damages for individual complainants. 

A lawyer can help you decide where to file a complaint and how best to seek justice against a manufacturer who caused your injuries.

This article is provided for informational purposes only. If you need legal advice or representation,
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