Product Liability

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product liability

As a consumer, you have a high level of trust that the product you are purchasing is safe, works properly, and will last a set amount of time. When these products fail or are harmful, however, it can not only shake your faith in the manufacturing company or the business it was purchased from, but also cause serious harm to you or those around you, including wrongful death. If you or a loved one were harmed as the result of a defective product, contact a highly skilled product liability lawyer as soon as possible. They will be able to go over the facts of your case and determine what damages to pursue so that you receive the best outcome possible.

Defective Product Requirements

According to the law, a product may be considered defective in one of three ways: 1.) Manufacture, 2.) Design, or 3.) Failing to include adequate warning or instruction. In order to prove product liability, the plaintiff must both allege and prove that the product was defective at the time it left the possession of the seller, that it was reasonably dangerous to the consumer (the plaintiff), that the product had reached the plaintiff without significant change to its condition after leaving the seller, and that the defective product was the proximate (or direct) cause of the plaintiff’s injuries.

Product Liability Types

There are two kinds of product liability a person could sue for. Strict liability is the most common, and the most easily applied type. Negligence is more difficult to prove, and thus less commonly used in product liability cases.

Strict Liability

Strict liability is most commonly applied to product liability. Through strict liability, the plaintiff is able to avoid needing to prove that the defendant, in this case, the manufacturer or seller of the defective product; instead, the focus is on the product itself. This takes away the possible defense strategy of contributory negligence, which under the law means that if the plaintiff was even one percent liable for their injury, they would be completely barred from recovery. Instead, with the focus being on the product and determining whether it can be deemed defective, the plaintiff is less likely to be barred from recovery and can pursue damages related to their injury.

Negligence

When referring to a product liability case, negligence may include negligent design or manufacture of a product, the failure to warn of dangerous qualities, or even failure to provide adequate instructions for safe usage. If the product is determined to be obviously defective or damaged in some way, however, there is no cause of action as it is assumed that the plaintiff should have seen or otherwise been aware of the defect, yet they proceeded to use it anyway. If a client is to pursue a negligence product liability claim, they must prove the five following criteria:

  1. The design of the product was defective or malfunctioned
  2. The materials used contributed to the final product’s defectiveness or malfunction
  3. The production process was not maintained in a manner that would prevent or preclude any products from being manufactured in a defective manner
  4. Assembly and testing of the product was such that it led to the product being defective or did not detect its defects
  5. There were inadequate warnings, labels, directions, or other materials as to proper use and maintenance of the product, which led to customers being unaware of the risk of harm that would be associated with using a defective product, or that led to the customer’s injury due to misuse

A skilled product liability attorney will be able to review the facts of the case, speak with investigators, and request manufacturing information so they can determine whether these five criteria had been met.

Who is Liable in Product Liability Cases?

Regarding liability, anybody who was involved in the chain of production, sale, or distribution of the defective product can be held liable, including “middlemen” or third-party sellers. Because placing a dangerous or defective product on the market is in itself considered a negligent act, anyone involved in the process of getting that product into the plaintiff’s possession may have liability imposed on them.

Damages

In a product liability case, the plaintiff will most often sue for compensatory damages. These damages include pain and suffering, loss of income, loss of consortium, and any medical bills that were accrued, among others. Punitive damages, which are damages awarded at an incredibly high amount in order to deter other entities from the same behavior, may be awarded, but only rarely, and only if the plaintiff can prove that the manufacturer acted with malice, “evil motive, intent to injure, ill will” or with the intent to defraud. In this case, the defendant knew the product was defective, and deliberately ignored the potential harm to consumers it could cause.

Contact a Lawyer

Don’t struggle alone with a product liability case. Having a highly talented product liability lawyer by your side throughout the entire process will greatly ease the burden on your shoulders so that you or your loved one can focus on recovery. An attorney will fight for you nonstop so that you can receive the best outcome possible in your product liability case. Contact Malloy Law Offices today for your free consultation.

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