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.
When consumers bring a product liability case against a manufacturer, they are usually required to prove at least one of three theories. First, they can claim that design defects affected the way a product was manufactured, therefore impacting its safety. Second, they can claim that a product is unreasonably dangerous because it was designed with a flaw, even if it serve its intended purpose. Or third, they can claim that a manufacturer failed to give proper warning about the dangers of a product.
Understanding Strict Liability
Depending on the circumstances, product liability cases can be based on negligence, a breach of warranty or strict liability. Cases involving strict liability are unique in that as long as three conditions exist, consumers can claim that a manufacturer is liable for an injured caused by a product, regardless of whether the manufacturer was negligent. These conditions include the following:
- The product came with a dangerous defect, which developed during the design, manufacturing or shipping process, that injured the consumer who used it.
- The product injured the consumer while it was being used for its intended purpose.
- The product was not changed substantially from when it was originally sold to when it was used.
Consumers should be aware that they may be unable to claim that a manufacturer is strictly liable if they knew that a product was defective, but they continued to use it.
North Carolina Product Liability Lawsuits
A North Carolina 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 the consumer. 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 North Carolina 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 North Carolina can connect you with an experienced product liability attorney who can help you throughout the legal process.