Products Liability FAQ
If I was injured using a product, Is the manufacturer liable for my injuries?
Products liability laws are based on the responsibility of a manufacturer or other provider of goods to compensate users of the goods for injuries caused by defective or dangerous products. The companies providing these products are in the best position to prevent products from entering the marketplace and if they fail to do so, are held accountable.
In a products liability action, the burden of proof lies upon the injured person to prove that a design or manufacturing defect in the product caused the injury, the manufacturer did not adequately warn consumers about the product’s possible dangers, the injured person was using the product in the way it was intended to be used, or that the manufacturer should have anticipated that the product would be misused in the way that it was.
Manufacturing defects are usually easier to prove than design defects. For example, if a car cannot go over ten miles per hour, it is clear that it was not manufactured as the designer intended. A design-defect case, on the other hand, could arise if, for example, many or all cars of a manufacturer’s particular model lurch forward when the accelerator is not depressed. Proving a design defect involves passing judgment on technical choices and usually requires expert testimony.
Possible legal theories that can be argued in a products liability case include negligence (lack of reasonable care in the manufacture or sale of the product or in warning about the product), breach of warranty (failure to fulfill the terms of a promise regarding the product), misrepresentation (giving consumers a false sense of security about a product’s safety), and strict tort liability (the product’s defect, although not the fault of the defendant, rendered the product unreasonably dangerous and the defendant is therefore responsible).
Damages recoverable in a products liability lawsuit include those for personal injuries as well as property damage. In a personal injury case, the plaintiff’s damages may include medical expenses, lost wages, damages for physical and mental pain and suffering, and sometimes even punitive damages, which go beyond compensating the plaintiff for his or her actual losses and are intended to punish the wrongdoer and deter future similar bad conduct.
Property damage may also result from a defective part and you may be able to seek damages that would pay all the necessary repairs to your home and property.
What do you need to prove in a products liability case?
Proving causation in a products liability case can be complicated. The plaintiff must establish that the product was defective when it left the hands of the defendant and that the defect was the cause of the accident that led to the injuries. If the injuries could have arisen from several potential causes-for example, pilot error or mechanic error as well as a product defect-the plaintiff usually must establish that the product defect had a substantial role in bringing about the injuries.