Product Liability Overview

Product liability torts cover the area of common law that allows for plaintiffs, also known as victims, to pursue holding a host of entities responsible for any injuries incurred while using one of their goods or products. By suffering an injury of some form, victims are engendered with cause of action, which is a legal term describing the situation of events and circumstances which would allow a plaintiff to pursue damages from defendants following a breach in common law. The nature of product liability law is to deal with these cases at a state by state level, however, given the national, and ever burgeoning global level of business transactions, there have been instances where the federal government has steeped into regulate product liability tort cases.

For victims, the fact that a product has somehow harmed a consumer is enough justification to file product liability claims. When seeking to determine the responsible parties for the dangerous and harmful product in question, plaintiffs and their legal counsel will attempt to hold responsible all those entities involved in the process of making and selling the product that has injured consumers.

Entities that can be held liable for damages in a product liability case include:

  • Retailers
  • Suppliers
  • Distributors
  • Manufacturers
  • Marketers and advertisers
  • Designers and developers

A product is generally found liable if it causes injuries to a consumer, when used in a reasonable standard of behavior. However, determining the liability the aforementioned entities have in these consumer injuries comes down to the three main negligent actions that may singlehandedly, or in combination, culminate in consumer injuries due to liable products.

The three areas of negligence defendants in a product liability case may be held liable for include:

  • Defects in product design
  • Defects in product manufacturing or production
  • Defects in marketing and advertising, which is otherwise known as a failure to warn

Defects in product design are known as inherent negligence, which essentially means the product was possessed the potential to harm a consumers due to flaws in design prior to even becoming tangible or entering the manufacturing phase. Defects found in the production, assembly, or manufacturing of a product occur during the creation of the harmful product. In these instances, only a portion of the total number of products produced prove potentially liable, while with design defects, every single product produced presents a hazard and level of negligence. Defecting in marketing, which also is categorized as a failure to warn consumers, stems from a product lacking the proper safety warnings, instructions, and even suggesting inappropriate and unsafe uses for a product. In other instances, the omission of potential dangers, or downplaying the potential hazards of these dangers could be viewed as negligence in some product liability cases.

In the civil courts, product liability cases are viewed upon by most state courts as strict liability offenses. In regards to product liability cases, strict liability infers that the level of fault in victims for causing their injuries is not relevant. Additionally, persons nearby, sharing, or simultaneously using a product may also file suite for damages inflicted by a product liability. In proving strict liability for a product liability cases, plaintiffs and their legal counsel will move to prove the injuries sustained were as result and proximate cause of the defective product, that the product in itself was truly defective in some fashion, and that the defect presented a negligent level of danger to the public.

Aside from product liability cases involving injuries, there are numerous claims filed annually that seek damages for breach of warranty in regards to products. In assessing product liability, which may or may not have caused personal injury, a breach of warranty claim can be filed against defendants' promulgating a product that fails to meet the claims and representations made when marketing and advertising this product. These types of warranties fall into two distinct categories including express and implied warranties. Through consultation with a product liability attorney, victims can garner a better idea on the legal efforts and claims for damages they are entitled to following injuries from a product.

Do you believe you have a product liability claim? Contact a product liability attorney today to ascertain your rights to damage compensation.

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