Product Liability

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defective product liability is the liability of any or all parties that are part of the manufacture of any product for damage caused by that product. This includes the manufacturer parts at the top of the chain and assembling manufacturers, the wholesalers, and the retail store owners who are at the bottom of the chain. Products that have defects that result in harm to a consumer of the product, or someone to whom the product was loaned, given, etc., are the subjects of products liability suits. While tangible products are usually considered to be personal property, products liability has now stretched that definition to include intangibles as well.

Products liability claims can be based on negligence, strict liability, or breach of warranty of fitness depending on the jurisdiction within which the claim is based. Many states have enacted product liability statute to protect consumers. These statutory provisions can be very diverse such that the United States Department of Commerce has promulgated a Model Uniform Products Liability Act (MUPLA) for voluntary use by the states. There is no federal products liability law.

Regardless of the jurisdiction, it is up to the person to prove that they have a defective product. There are three types of product defects that incur liability in manufacturers and suppliers:

  • Design defects
  • Manufacturing defects
  • Marketing defects
  • Design defects exist before the product is manufactured.
  • Manufacturing defects occur during the construction or production of the item. Only a few out of many products of the same type are flawed in this case.
  • Marketing defects deal with improper instructions and failures to warn consumers of latent dangers in the product.

Products Liability is considered a strict product liability offense. Strict liability offenses do not depend on how careful the defendant is. Translated to products liability terms, a defendant is liable when it is shown that the product is defective. It is irrelevant whether the manufacturer or supplier exercised great care; if there is a defect in the product that causes harm, he or she will be liable for it.

Basically, when you buy a product, you buy it with an implicit guarantee that nothing is wrong with it and that it is not defective. If you buy something and then give or loan it to someone else, they too can file for product liability claims. There are many categories into which product liability can fall:

  • Edible foods from a grocery store or fast food
  • Cosmetics
  • Baby strollers and other baby products
  • Automobiles and automobile products
  • Children's toys
  • Sporting goods
  • Medicine
  • Diet

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says that there are 200-300 product recalls each year. A large percentage of these recalls involve children's products and toys. Other products recalled because of defects or dangerous conditions include automobiles, tires, furniture, household appliances, tools, and safety equipment such as smoke detectors and fire alarms. These products are designed for safe use, when they fail because of defects they can cause serious injury including brain injury, spinal cord injury, paralysis, blindness, scarring, pain, suffering and even death.

Have you or someone you know been the victim of food poisoning? An experienced attorney can help you. Contact a Product Liability Lawyer today!