Faulty or dangerous products are the source of thousands of accidents annually in the United States. “Product liability law,” the legal guidelines concerning who exactly is accountable for defective or unsafe items, is different from common accident law, and this set of guidelines sometimes makes things less troublesome for an injured or hurt individual to recuperate settlements.
Product liability refers to a manufacturer or vendor being held liable for placing a defective product into the possession of a customer. Liability for an item defect that results in injuries is found with all sellers of the product who are in the distribution chain. In general terms, the law requires that an item meets the reasonable safety expectations of the individual. The moment a product has an unforeseen defect or danger, the product can definitely not be stated to fulfill the usual expectations of the individual.
There is no federal product liability law. Normally, product liability claims depend on state laws and under the basic principles of negligence, strict liability, or breach of warranty. Aside from that, a set of business statute laws in each state followed the Uniform Commercial Code, will contain warranty standards impacting product liability.
For product liability to arise, at some point the instrument will need to have been sold in the retail space. In the past, a contractual partnership, known as “privity of contract,” needed to exist among the person injured by an item and the provider of the product in order for the injured individual to get compensation. In most states today, that guideline no longer exists, and the injured individual does not have to be the purchaser of the product for them to recover. Anyone who could have foreseen getting hurt by a malfunctioning product can recover for his or her personal injuries, as long as the item was sold to someone.
Liability for a product defect could possibly lie with any party in the product’s chain of distribution, including:
- The product maker
- A creator of component pieces
- An individual that assembles or builds the product
- The dealer or store
- The retail store that offered the item to the individual
For strict liability to apply, the sale of an item needs to be made in the regular course of the supplier’s business. For this reason, somebody who offers a product at a yard sale would probably not be liable in a product liability lawsuit.
Kinds of Product Defects
Within any form of liability, an injured party in a product liability dispute must verify that the product which caused personal injury was actually malfunctioning, and that the deficiency made the product unreasonably unsafe. Generally, there are three forms of deficiencies that may result in injuries and produce manufacturer or distributor liability:
- Design Issues – Present in an item from the start, even prior to it is manufacture, because something in the design of the item is inherently unsafe
- Production Problem – Those that occur during an item’s manufacture or assembly
- Advertising Deficiency – Defects in the way an item is advertised, such as improper labeling, unsatisfactory guidelines, or insufficient safety and security notifications
Who’s Liable for a Defective Product?
The doctrine of “res ipsa loquitur” allocates the responsibility in a number of product liability lawsuits to the defendant(s). Translated, this Latin terminology indicates “the thing speaks for itself,” and means that the flaw in question would certainly not be present except if someone was irresponsible. If the proposition is successfully applied, the injured party is no longer mandated to verify how the defendant was negligent; rather, the offender is required to show that it was not negligent.
The second rule that assists injured parties in product liability cases is that of strict liability. If strict liability applies, the plaintiff does not need to prove that a company was negligent, but simply that the item was substandard. By removing the problem of manufacturer fault, the principle of no-fault or “strict” liability permits plaintiffs to get a settlement where they otherwise may not.
Unavoidably Dangerous Products
By their makeup, a number of products simply cannot be made safer without getting rid of their practicality. An electric knife that is too blunt to cut anyone would likewise be useless for its intended purpose. It is commonly believed that, concerning such products, users and consumers are the best positioned to decrease the risk. Thus, although an item may certainly not be regarded as unreasonably hazardous, makers and suppliers of unavoidably unsafe items need to offer effective precautions of the real dangers and risks of their products to make sure that individuals can make intelligent decisions about them.
Most Common Defenses to Product Liability Lawsuits
A defense frequently raised in product liability lawsuits is that the plaintiff has not completely established the supplier of the product that supposedly resulted in the accidental injury. A plaintiff must be able to link the product with the parties responsible for producing or providing it. There is an exception to this rule, known as the “market share liability” exception, that applies in instances consisting of defective medicines. When an injured party cannot identify which of the pharmaceutical drug manufacturers that supply a specific drug supplied the substance he or she took, each and every maker will be held responsible according to its percentage of sales in the area where the personal injury happened.
Another defense a company might bring up is that the plaintiff substantially changed the item soon after it left the vendor’s control, and this alteration caused the plaintiff’s injury. A related defense is that the injured party misused the item in an unforeseeable method, and his or her misapplication of the product caused the injuries alleged.
Get Free Legal Help for a Defective Product Injury Today
Product liability actions are fairly complicated, and developing legal negligence frequently requires the help of experts. In addition, each and every state has its own regulations and distinct statutes that will affect a product liability lawsuit. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury triggered by a potentially defective item, contact a qualified Tennessee personal injury attorney to have your claim evaluated free of charge.