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Product Liability Lawsuit

Over the years, countless people in the United States have been injured or killed by defective products. Federal regulations in place are designed to protect consumers from getting potentially dangerous products, but sometimes those laws simply are not enough.

When a consumer receives a defective product that causes injury or worse, he or she has the right to file a personal injury lawsuit against the manufacturer or seller of the defective item. Thousands of people file lawsuits every year claiming that companies put profits above public safety.

Product liability is the law surrounding injuries suffered from defective items and can help those injured by faulty products get the compensation they deserve.

What is Personal Injury?

Personal injury is an area of law that falls under tort law. A tort is an act or omission that results in injury or harm to another person.

The primary goal of tort law is to provide relief to injured parties, impose liability to those responsible, and prevent others from committing harmful acts.

There are generally three categories of torts: intentional torts, negligent torts, and strict liability torts. The exact laws of each are not codified in penal codes or statutes. Tort law boundaries are instead defined by common law and state laws. This gives judges the flexibility to determine which actions are considered legal wrongs.

Personal injury cases are wide-ranging. They deal with all types of injuries and wrongdoings. Some of the most common types of personal injury cases include car accidents, slip and fall situations, nursing home abuse, medical malpractice, defamation, defective products, and more.

What is Personal Injury Product Liability?

Product liability is a type of personal injury case that deals specifically with injuries or harm caused by unsafe or defective products. Manufacturers and sellers have a legal obligation to sell safe products to the public.

Like personal injury law in general, there is no federal law that regulates product liability. State laws affect how product liability cases can be determined.

All the parties along the chain of manufacturing may be held liable for a defective product that causes harm. This includes the manufacturer of the parts, the company that assembles the parts, the wholesaler, and the store that sells the defective product.

For a case to be brought, the seller must have sold a product that the plaintiff uses. The plaintiff must have then suffered an injury from the product. The item must have been defective at the time of sale with the defect being the main cause of the plaintiff’s injury.

Types of Product Liability Defects

The types of product defects that can be brought against a manufacturer or supplier are design defects, manufacturing defects, and defects in marketing.

  • Design Defects
  • Design defects are issues that are present at the design stage of the product’s life. This means there is a problem with the product before it is even put into production. The item may adequately serve its designed purpose but may also carry a fatal flaw that causes unexpected injuries.

An example would be a structurally unstable dresser that tips over when a drawer is open too far.

  • Manufacturing Defects
  • This type of defect occurs at the manufacturing stage of the product. The product may have been effectively and safely designed, but a problem during the construction of the item caused it to become unsafe. Sometimes only specific batches of the item are affected by the defect.

One example would be a children’s swing set that was manufactured with a crack in the chain.

  • Defects in Marketing
  • Marketing defects deal with a failure to provide warnings and instructions about the proper use of the item. It might not always be obvious that a product is dangerous when used in a certain manner.

For example, there may be a rocking chair with a maximum weight limit of 200 pounds, but the instruction manual did not inform the consumer.

Product Liability vs. Other Types of Personal Injury

In nearly all types of personal injury cases, the plaintiff must show that the defendant did not act in a manner that a reasonable person would. However, a product liability case is different because it is considered a strict liability offense.

Strict liability does not require the defendant to meet a certain level of care to be held accountable. Most states shied away from negligence rules in product liability after plaintiffs could not win cases. It was too hard to prove that a manufacturer acted in a way that was below what was expected.

Strict liability means it is easier to win a case because a plaintiff must only show that the item was defectively designed, made, or marketed. It does not matter if the manufacturer exercised great care when making the product. If the plaintiff was properly using the item for its intended purpose and suffered an injury, the manufacturer could be held liable.

How Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help

Product liability and other personal injury cases can be complicated and time-consuming.

Tort law is a very specialized field that takes time to learn and understand, thanks to all the different laws and statutes in each state. A personal injury lawyer can help victims of defective products gather all the necessary documentation and evidence needed to prove their case in a court of law.

Those who think they have been injured by a defective product should contact a qualified attorney to learn more about whether they have a case.