The Basics of a Products Liability Claim

Thousands are injured every year as a result of a defective product.  While some injuries occur during the normal use of a properly manufactured product, many injuries are caused by some sort of defect in the product.  If your injuries are the result of a defective product, you may be able to obtain compensation for your injuries.

Establishing a products liability claim

While the specific laws may differ some from one state to the next, there are three basic theories of liability in products liability cases: negligence, breach of warranty and strict liability.  The elements generally necessary to establish a products liability claim are:

  1. the product was defective
  2. you sustained an actual injury
  3. your injury was caused by the product defect
  4. the seller or manufacturer owed you a duty to make or sell a safe product

What Is a Defect?

The only way you can recover from injuries sustained by a product, is if that product was actually defective.  For instance,

You may be injured using a product, but if it isn’t defective, you can’t recover for your injuries. For example, a perfectly good carving knife could cut you, if it slips out of your hand.  But if you are injured because the blade detached from the handle, then the defect could be the basis of a lawsuit.  If the manufacturer did not detect the flaw before it was sold, they may be held liable for your injuries.

Theories of liability for product defects

There are three basic theories of liability for defective product cases: manufacturing defects, design defects and failure to warn.  Consider the defective knife example.  If, during the manufacturing of the knife, the adhesive was not properly applied to the blade and handle, causing it to detach unexpectedly, that would be a manufacturing defect.  Next, consider the knife maker comes up with a new design that changes how the blade and handle are attached, altogether.  If these new design makes it much easier for the blade to detach, than the prior design did, then a design defect may be the cause.  Finally, if the manufacturer knows that the type of adhesive used to attach the handle to the blade, tends to become less effective after repeated cleaning in a dishwasher, but fails to include an appropriate warning label, notifying consumers of this danger, that would be a failure to warn claim.

If you have questions regarding products liability, or any other personal injury matters, please contact the experienced attorneys at Means Gillis Law, PC, either online or by calling toll free at 1-844-870-1777.

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