When buying products, consumers have a legal right to expect them to be reasonably safe and provide sufficient safety warnings for their intended use. A product liability case exists when any product – be it an automobile, medical device or any household product – is not reasonably safe for its ordinary or foreseeable use.
Product Liability Cases are claims against companies that manufacture or sell products that are unreasonably dangerous or defective. Such cases are pursued when a product is either improperly manufactured, negligently designed or involves a situation in which the company has failed to properly warn the public about dangerous features of the product.
When using the term product liability we are referring in general to products such as vehicles, toys, medical equipment and devices and industrial machines – basically any and all consumer products that are dangerous and defective and can cause injury.
A product should be reasonably safe for its intended use. The number of potentially defective consumer products is immeasurable. When a manufacturer fails to use the care necessary to provide a product that is reasonably safe, too often, the result is catastrophic, life-long injuries for the unsuspecting user.
A successful product liability case benefits not only the injured client, but helps cause the manufacturer to rethink the design of their products to help prevent others from suffering from similar injuries.
Establishing a Product Liability Lawsuit
If you’ve been hurt by a dangerous or defective product, there are four legal issues that help to establish liability:
Negligence – Any person or entity that does not provide reasonable care when it has legal responsibility to do so can be found guilty of negligence.
Strict Liability – As with most product liability cases, strict liability makes the manufacturer or seller of a defective and dangerous product responsible for all relevant injuries. If the victim can show the product was defective and dangerous, that the product was the cause of serious personal injury, then strict liability holds the manufacturer or seller responsible regardless of intent or fault.
Breach of Warranty – When a seller or manufacturer fails to uphold a claim about a product, they are in breach of warranty. The law expects companies to stand by their obligations to consumers and their safety.
Misrepresentation – Advertising claims that lead consumers to believe a product is safer than it actually is, or to distract them from potential risks inherent in use is considered misrepresentation.
It is important to mention that under product liability law, a product doesn’t have to be defective for the manufacturer to be found liable. For instance, if a child is injured by a foreign object lodged in a jar of baby food, all corporations affiliated with the product can be held responsible for any injuries. However, while the baby food does contain a dangerous item, it is not considered a defective product, but rather it is unsafe to consumers.
When manufacturers fail to use the care necessary to provide a product that is reasonably safe, often times the result is a life long catastrophic injury.
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