Every year in the United States, products are being deemed dangerous due to defects and other reasons. Many people may want to grasp a better understanding of product liability law, which are the legal rules concerning who is responsible for defective or dangerous products. This is different from the laws stemming from ordinary injuries, and having product liability laws in place makes it easier for an injured person to recover damages.
So, who might be responsible in a product liability case? Any person who could have been injured by a defective product can recover for his or her injuries, as long as the product was actually sold to someone. Liability for a defect could rest with any party in the product’s chain of distribution, including the product manufacturer, a manufacturer of component parts, a party that assembles or installs the product, the wholesaler, or the retail store that sold the product to the consumer.
There are some things that you will have to prove that are required in product liability laws. These things will help you win your case. You must prove that you were injured or suffered losses, the product is defective, the defect caused your injury, and you were using the product as it was intended. Now you can find out a little about each of these things.
You Were Injured or Suffered Losses
If you have an actual injury or monetary loss, then you may have a product liability claim. If you have avoided an injury but it almost happened to you, that is not enough for a case. Take for an example a teakettle with a hairline crack – it explodes the first time you use it. If you jump out of the way just in time to avoid third-degree burns, then you have no claim because you have no injuries.
The Product is Defective
Another thing that must be proven is that the product that injured you is defective. It could be easy or difficult to prove based on the type of claim that you’re making. For instance, you may be trying to prove a manufacturing error, which is when the product is flawed based on an error in making it. You could also be trying to prove that it was a design defect, and will have to demonstrate that the danger created by its design was unreasonable in nature. Furthermore, you may be dealing with a failure to warn, which is when there was a failure to warn with warnings and instructions. You could win your case by demonstrating that the dangerous quality of the product is not obvious to the ordinary consumer.
The Defect Caused Your Injury
Along with arguing that you were injured while using the defective product, you must also demonstrate specifically that your injury was caused by the defect itself. Sometimes, linking the defect in the product to your injury will be straightforward; however, in other cases, it may not be as easy.
You Were Using the Product as It Was Intended
You must have been using the product in a way that the manufacturer intended consumers to use it. If an ordinary consumer would not have used a product a certain way, then the manufacturer was not required to make the design safe for that purpose. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the way you were using the product when you were injured must conform exactly to the manufacturer’s specifications. If a manufacturer could have expected an ordinary consumer to use the product the way you used it, then you may have met the requirement.
To have a product liability claim, you may have to prove all of these basic elements. However, in your state, this may just be tricky. Depending on your case, you may need to speak to an attorney who is experienced in this complex law. Call your lawyer at WTW today to see where you stand in your case.