You come across several products in your everyday life. You can usually buy most of them with peace of mind that the product will do what is claimed.
However, mistakes happen, sometimes due to negligence during manufacturing, and a product may become defective. If you have been harmed as a result of using a defective product, you have the right to sue the manufacturer for personal injury.
Many factors are involved in product liability. This article discusses everything you need to know and whether you have a valid personal injury claim against a manufacturer.
What is product liability?
Every manufacturer has the legal obligation to care for the safety of their customers. That usually involves complying with safety regulations, using FDA-approved materials during production, employing only well-trained workers, and testing products before releasing them into the market to ensure everything is working perfectly.
There is product liability when a product is defective due to the manufacturer’s negligence, leading to personal injury when used. Perhaps, the manufacturer had cut corners, included a toxic substance, or failed to warn consumers about potential risks.
In essence, the manufacturer didn’t give 100% attention to their duty of care to the consumer. They are, therefore, liable for the injuries incurred. If your injuries result from a defective product, you have the right to sue the manufacturer and get monetary compensation for the medical bills, pain, and suffering you’ve incurred. A personal injury attorney can help you evaluate the legitimacy of your claim, file the lawsuit, and represent you in court.
Types of defective products
Product liability may result from different kinds of defects:
A design defect is a problem with the product’s design. This problem occurs even before the product is manufactured. For instance, a chair designer didn’t account for the weight the furniture’s legs would support. Therefore, even when the chair is correctly manufactured, it has a defective design because all parameters were not accounted for.
Another example is when an electric blanket is designed so that it overheats when it is turned on high. This is the intended design, so even when there were no errors in the manufacturing, there may be a product liability when the overheated blanket burns a user.
There is a manufacturing defect when problems occur during assembly and manufacturing. For example, the design may be perfect, but perhaps poor materials were used, or the product was assembled hurriedly, which poses a risk to consumers.
In the chair example, there will be a manufacturing defect if weight is accounted for, but weak timber was used. Manufacturing defects are common in cars where a component malfunctions due to an error. For instance, the manufacturing company may not have screwed the pieces together, causing the latch not to work properly sometimes. If the latch falls while in motion and the door flies open, throwing a passenger out and injuring them, the passenger may sue the car manufacturer for product liability.
A marketing or advertising defect occurs when there’s a problem with how the product is presented to consumers. For example, it may not have been labeled correctly. A good example of a marketing or advertising defect is when a skin care product causes harm to sensitive skin but isn’t indicated by the manufacturer.
If your injury occurs due to any of the defects above, you have a right to sue the manufacturer for strict liability. In such cases, you don’t need to provide the court with any proof. As long as the product obviously has a defect and you were harmed as a result, the law demands that the manufacturer compensate you for the harm caused. However, having an experienced personal injury attorney by your side can help ensure you obtain the maximum compensation you deserve.
What do you need to back up your product liability claim?
For your product liability lawsuit to stand, you must present the court with three elements:
- That the product was defective
- That there’s a direct link between your injury and the product’s defect.
- That you suffered specific losses due to the injury.
You (and your attorney) should be able to prove that the product caused your injury rather than your incorrect usage or actions. This implies that you must have used the product which caused you harm due to the defect.
If you identified a product defect that hasn’t yet caused you harm, you could not base your claim on strict product liability. However, you can still sue the manufacturer for negligence or breach of warranty. In such cases, you and your attorney must prove that the manufacturer has breached their duty of care to you.
Remember that the manufacturer may not be the only one responsible for your injury due to a product. The supplier, installer, or retailer may have tampered with the product, leading to a deviation in its original quality and functionality. Again, it’s important to work with a personal injury lawyer to know where you stand.
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