Proving a Defective Liability Claim

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Defective products, including injuries from home appliances, power tools, medical devices, motor vehicles and industrial equipment on the job

You may have a defective product liability claim if you have been injured from a product you used. In general, product liability law requires you must prove all of the same things in every state for your case.

  • You were injured or suffered losses.In order to win a defective product liability case, you must prove a physical injury or monetary loss. It does not matter if you were almost injured, or that your property was almost damaged. You must have an actual injury or damage in order to have a claim.
  • The product is defective. Proving a defective product may be easy or more difficult, depending on the type of claim. If you are claiming a manufacturing error, proving that is usually easier. You might want to claim that a product’s design is defective, meaning that it was manufactured correctly but the design is flawed and unreasonably dangerous. This might be more difficult, because to claim this, you will probably have to demonstrate how the design is dangerous.

Also, just because a product is dangerous does not always mean the manufacturer is liable. For instance, an air bag in a car is dangerous, but it is recognized that it is dangerous by design and the risk is worth the safety it provides, to it would not be considered unreasonably dangerous. It is also possible to claim that you were not properly warned about the risk factors of the product. In this case, if a product is dangerous in nature but not dangerously designed, you could still have a claim if there were not adequate warnings or instructions informing you of the danger.

  • The defect caused your injury. It is not sufficient to say you were injured while using a product; you must show that the defect itself caused your injury. This may be simple or difficult, depending on the defective product. It would be easier to prove that the sparks emitted from a defective electronic product caused your burns, but it might be harder to show that your car is prone to flipping over which caused your injury. In the second case, if you were found to be speeding at the time when your car flipped, the injury would be attributed to your reckless driving.
  • You were using the product as it was intended. This point is important, because you must show you were generally using the product in a way that the manufacturer intended it to be used for. If you were using the product in a way that the average customer would not use it for, you may not have a claim, because the manufacturer is not required to make the product safe for that purpose. However, if the manufacturer could reasonably expect an ordinary consumer to use their product in that way, you will have a claim.

If you win your case, you can be granted compensatory damages or punitive damages. Compensatory damages would be money that is intended for compensation for all the bad things that have happened to you, which would probably include medical bills, lost wages or profits, any damage to your property, and sometimes pain and suffering. Compensatory damages are most common, however a judge might award punitive damages if they find the defendant exhibited poor conduct. Punitive damages act as a punishment to prevent the defendant and others from behaving in the same way.

Product liability cases can vary depending on the product, claim, injury, and many other factors. Always seek help from an experienced attorney when trying to form your own case.


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