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.
Who Is Responsible for Consumer Product Safety?
When an article is first manufactured and put on the market for consumer use, there are already a number of different parties who have taken part in the final appearance and function of that object. Any one, or a number of, these parties may be responsible for the potential dangers that may be inherent in the product. The entities who may be at fault when it comes to a particular item include the following:
- The supplier, wholesaler or retailer that sells the item to the buyer
- The company’s safety or quality control and assurance team that approves the item
- The manufacturer that physically puts the product together or the party that makes various parts of the finished product
- The original inventor or designer of the product
Because so many different individuals and groups may be involved with the manufacturing of one object, it may be difficult to tell exactly with whom product liability lies.
Product Liability Examples
A few products that may lead to potential dangers include those that involve transportation, health, machinery, or products associated with babies and children. For example:
- Infant and children’s goods, such as high chairs, car seats, toys, bottles, rockers, cribs, bassinets, slings, and other types of carriers and accessories
- Products which heat up and may have the potential to burn, such as hair irons and curlers, hair dryers, lights of all kinds, batteries or machines such as coffee makers
- Transportation modes and accessories, such as boats, vehicles, planes, trains and other methods of transport
The Consumer Product Safety Commission regularly reports manufacturer recalls on many of these items. Of course, a product does not have to fall into one of the classifications above to become dangerous and liable for a claim. Items ranging from baby powder to lawn mowers have the potential to malfunction or become defective, putting the consumer at risk for physical harm.
Defective Product Categories
Cornell University’s Legal Information Institute points out that there are three different classifications of defective products that a product liability claim may fall into. Items may become unsafe due to being in one or more of these classifications.
- Products that do not contain appropriate warnings or instructions in the form of text or graphics to stop them from causing harm to a consumer
- Products that have been wrongly manufactured for a reason that may be the fault of the parts, the assembler, the quality assurance team or the manufacturer
- Products that have a defect or dangerous factor in their original prototype, making the liability the fault of the inventor, designer, or safety and approval panel
Marketing flaws, or failure to warn dangers, are not inherent within the product, but come along during the packaging and distribution phase. Construction flaws may only involve a few of a batch of products, but design defects likely affect all of the products that have been manufactured using a certain blueprint.
New Jersey Product Liability Lawsuit
A New Jersey product liability attorney can help you to determine who is responsible for the design, manufacturing or marketing of the product. The supplier of the product or the retailers that sold the item may also be liable and named as defendants in product liability lawsuits. Defective products most often found in the workplace and home include drugs, cribs, machinery, lights, appliances, high chairs, child and infant safety seats, vehicles, airplanes and boats.
If a company knows that its product is unsafe or if using the product in a certain manner could cause injury, it is legally obligated to provide a warning to consumers. In many cases when a consumer was adversely affected, his or her injury could have been avoided if he or she had known about the risks or dangers prior to using the product.
How a New Jersey Product Liability Attorney Can Help
If a product is determined to be defective and unreasonably dangerous, the manufacturer can be held responsible for injuries caused by the product. Compensation that may be recovered if there are injuries associated with a defective product include:
- Medical expenses incurred
- Pain, mental anguish, and suffering resulting from an injury
- Scarring caused by the injury or medical treatment
If a loved one dies because of a defective product, family members may be eligible to pursue compensation for the wrongful death of their loved one, including:
- Funeral expenses
- Medical expenses prior to death
- Mental anguish associated with the loss of a family member
Attorney Group for New Jersey can connect you with an experienced product liability attorney who can help you throughout the legal process.