What is Product Liability?
Product liability cases are filed when an inherently defective product causes harm to a consumer. Although products are generally thought of as tangible personal property, some cases have defined houses, pets and even human blood as products. In many product liability cases, any party who contributed to the distribution of a defective product can be considered liable. For example, the manufacturer of a product’s parts, the store owner who sells the product or the wholesaler may all be held liable in a product liability case.
The Classification of Product Defects
According to Cornell University Law School’s Legal Information Institute, there are no universal, federal laws in regards to product liability. The vast majority of product liability laws are created and interpreted at the state level, and it is the responsibility of the person making the claim to prove that use of the product resulted in bodily harm or death. The law currently recognizes three distinct types of defects associated with consumer products. These defects are:
- Manufacturing: this usually stems from the poor assembly or construction of the product, but can also include poor-quality materials.
- Marketing: When a manufacturer fails to adequately warn the public about the potential dangers of using its product, a defect in marketing is said to have occurred.
- Design defects: If there is a flaw in the way the product is designed, a design defect may be present. These defects can even occur if a device serves its intended purposes. Design defects are present before the manufacturing process begins.
It should also be noted that, according to the Legal Information Institute, people who are claiming a product design was defective will need to show that there is another product design that does the same thing, is economically feasible and is safer to use.
Parties Who Can Be Held Responsible
Multiple parties can be held responsible if a product is found to have caused harm to consumers. These parties include the following:
Companies and people can also be held liable if they loan or lease a product that proves to be dangerous.
How a Massachusetts Product Liability Attorney Can Help
Product makers have a duty to provide safe products. If there are risks of harm associated with their products, they also must provide adequate warnings. If a product maker fails to fulfill this duty, it could be held liable in lawsuits for injuries that may result.
People injured by defective products may be eligible to recover money for:
- Medical Expenses
- Lost Wages
- Pain and Suffering
The families of those killed may be eligible to recover money for funeral expenses and the pain that comes with losing a loved one.