Product liability refers to the liability of any or all parties along the chain of manufacture of any product for damage caused by that product. This includes the manufacturer of component parts (at the top of the chain), an assembling manufacturer, the wholesaler, and the retail store owner (at the bottom of the chain). Products containing inherent defects that cause harm to a consumer of the product, or someone to whom the product was loaned, given, etc., are the subjects of products liability suits. While products are generally thought of as tangible personal property, products liability has stretched that definition to include intangibles (gas), naturals (pets), real estate (house), and writings (navigational charts).
Product liability claims can be based on negligence, strict liability, or breach of warranty of fitness depending on the jurisdiction within which the claim is based.
There are three types of product defects that incur liability in manufacturers and suppliers: design defects, manufacturing defects, and defects in marketing. Design defects are inherent; they exist before the product is manufactured. While the item might serve its purpose well, it can be unreasonably dangerous to use due to a design flaw. On the other hand, manufacturing defects occur during the construction or production of the item. Only a few out of many products of the same type are flawed in this case. Defects in marketing deal with improper instructions and failures to warn consumers of latent dangers in the product.
Examples off products that may give rise to product liability claims are:
- Defective automobile products including airbags, seatbelts, tires, child car seats
- Pharmaceutical products
- Medical devices
- Children’s toys
- Household appliances
- Sporting goods including firearms, exercise equipment, helmets
If you or someone you know has been injured while using a product, contact us for a free consultion.