Product Liability Law
Have you ever heard of anyone getting injured using a product they bought, or a child choking on a piece that came off a toy? And you’ve probably seen ads on TV asking if you or someone you know has had side effects or been made sick by a certain prescription drug?
These types of injuries are known as “Product Liability” in the world of Personal Injury Law.
Here is the Wikipedia definition, “Product liability is the area of law in which manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, retailers, and others who make products available to the public are held responsible for the injuries those products cause. Although the word “product” has broad connotations, product liability as an area of law is traditionally limited to products in the form of tangible personal property.”
The premise of product liability law is this: Manufacturers have a responsibility to produce safe products. If their products are harmful or unsafe, then the manufacturer is liable for damages caused to consumers. Not only is the manufacturer responsible, but anyone who supplied any part of the product can be held liable… even the retailer who sold the faulty product.
Unfortunately these types of injuries occur almost daily in our country, and lawsuits are opened. Defective products continue to make it to the marketplace. In our economy, companies cut corners, producing cheaper products, cutting corners and bypassing safety testing. It’s a scary thought. Product liability lawsuits make companies think twice before releasing harmful goods, and help keep this “crime” in check.
There are different ways in which a product can be defective. It can have a design defect (potentially harmful at conception, pre-manufacture.) Or it can have a manufacturing defect—where the design is safe but inferior, faulty or incorrect parts were used in production that caused the problem. Maybe the item simply wasn’t assembled properly.
Another dangerous scenario: products that are insufficiently or incorrectly labeled. This is considered a marketing defect—the consumer / buyer of the product is not given proper instructions or warnings about the product. Maybe the text was too tiny to notice or the instruction slip was missing from the box.
In product liability cases, once you prove a product was faulty or harmful, liability is established. So even if the manufacturer took care with producing the product they are automatically responsible for damages caused.
Product liability cases can also be wrongful death cases, where an innocent person was tragically killed by use of a product. Their family is entitled to compensation.
Note that there is no federal product liability law. Product liability claims are based on state laws.
If many people were injured, as is often the case with drugs, a class action lawsuit is pursued against the manufacturer.
If you or a loved one has been harmed by any type of product—machinery, an automobile, food product, or prescription drug–take advantage of a free consultation with a qualified personal injury attorney, and learn your rights.
And when you buy things, take a minute to read labels and inserts. It’s important for your safety and that of your family.