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What Is Product Liability Law and How Does It Affect You? | Reiner, Slaughter & Frankel, LLP

When you purchase a product, you expect it to function as it was intended and advertised.

Sometimes, however, a defective product can cause you harm or injury. It’s important to know that you are able to take legal action and shouldn’t be held responsible for covering any costs associated with your injury.

Under the Product Liability Law, you can potentially seek compensation for your injuries.

Product Liability Law

There isn’t a federal law that sets a standard for product manufacturing and product liability, and therefore these types of claims are usually based on state laws. Often, a product liability claim will be looked at using the concepts of negligence, strict liability, or breach of warranty. There are other areas of this law, such as pharmaceutical product liability, which pertains to medication. The U.S. is the largest consumer of prescription drugs and medical devices across the globe, and many corners are cut in manufacturing. You can potentially have a product liability claim against a seller or manufacturer of a product if that product has an unexpected defect that causes you injury.

Who’s at Fault

In most states, you don’t have to be the one who bought the product in order to have a product liability case. As long as someone bought the product, and you were injured, you potentially have a claim. There are different handlers and possible responsible parties for the defective product throughout its chain of distribution:

  • The product manufacturer;
  • The manufacturer of the component parts;
  • The entity that installs or assembles the product;
  • The wholesaler; and
  • The retail store in which the product was sold

However, if the product was purchased from a non-authorized retailer, such as a garage sale, then strict liability most likely would not apply.

Types of Defects

In a product liability case, the plaintiff (or plaintiff’s attorneys) must prove that the product that caused the injury had some type of fault or defect that made the product dangerous. Defects can be of three different types:

  1. Design Defects: Before the actual manifestation of the product, a flaw in the conceptual design from the beginning that made the product dangerous (hypothetical example: a spinning metal fan to cool a mechanized stuffed animal for young children).
  2. Manufacturing Defects: Dangerous flaws created during the process of assembly.
  3. Marketing Defects: Flawed marketing such as improper labeling, poor safety warnings, or incomplete instructions.

In some cases, the burden of proof rests on the defendant rather than the plaintiff if the defect is apparent. In other words, if the defect only exists due to negligence, it then becomes the defendant’s responsibility to prove it wasn’t negligence.

Product liability can be tough to wade through. Personal injury attorneys can help you file your claim and get the compensation you deserve.

 

If you’re looking for personal injury attorneys for your case, call us today.

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