The lifetime of a product begins at the first glimmer of an idea, and progresses along a chain of manufacture that includes various phases, such as design, manufacturing of parts, wholesaler and retailer, installer and user. Laws that apply to liability for harm that occurs when products are defective are found in common laws of each state and in the federal Uniform Commercial Code. There is no specific federal law about product liability, but the UCC has been adopted by most states. In the UCC, Article 2 deals with the sales of goods and implied and express warranties of merchantability of the sales of goods.
Product Liability Lawyer
A Product Liability Lawyer is the right professional to consult with about the area of law that addresses problems that occur due to defective parts, products or warranties. Whether you are the victim or you are part of the chain of creation of a defective product, an experienced Product Liability Attorney will have full knowledge of this issue and be able to help you protect your rights or defend your case.
Product Liability Laws
The laws that are concerned with product liability attempt to decrease any possibility of defective parts or products entering the marketplace and causing harm to users. The basic premise of this area of law is that there is a duty to protect the public from harm caused by negligence or other mistakes in the creation, production, sales and use of products.
If, at any point between creation and use of a product, someone is negligent in their duty for creating or installing that product and that negligence causes a failure or defect that leads to personal injury of the user, there is liability for damage. Some products are inherently dangerous by their nature, such as sharp knives. Those products may not be considered defective if they cause harm, but they must have a warning to consumers to help prevent accidents.
Other areas besides Negligence where product liability can be a cause of action by a plaintiff include: Breach of Warranty, Misrepresentation, and Strict Tort Liability.
Product Liability Accidents
This issue has been around for a long time. In 1965, Ralph Nader published a book pointing out the dangers of the Chevrolet Corvair. It was titled “Unsafe at Any Speed” and it pointed to the reluctance of the automotive industry to incorporate the use of safety features, like seat belts in automobiles. This book set the wheels in motion for better protections for consumers.
There are many cases of product liability accidents in the news recently. One example is the Takata air bag failures. Upon impact, these protective air bags have expanded as they should, but due to a defect, the bags also explode when metal parts detach from the mechanism. The metal is like shrapnel, blowing out through the bags and harming the persons they were supposed to protect. Some people have died from these defective bag explosions, and others were seriously harmed.
Tire blow-outs, vehicle roof crushes in roll-over accidents, faulty brakes, windows that shatter into sharp pieces, and other problems that have occurred within the motor vehicle industry have also received great publicity due to the harm caused to users. Other product liability accidents involve warranties that promise but don’t deliver. Lack of warning labels that indicate potential hazards are another problem that can lead to injuries. Poor design of a product can result in a product that does not perform properly. The list goes on and on, and users continue to receive injuries that could have been prevented if due diligence had been done during product creation, manufacture, sales and installation.
State Product Liability Cases
Each state has its own product liability laws. Sometimes, the federal government may preempt an area of product liability away from state control to protect a certain group of manufacturers. California has typical state laws with regard to product liability. The jury instructions in this state (CACI 1202 Strict Liability) for manufacturing defects state that if a product differs from a manufacturer design or specification or from other typical units of the same product line, it then contains a manufacturing defect.
California and other states also have time limits for making product liability claims. In this state, the limits for either product liability or personal injury caused by negligence are a period of two (2) years from the date of injury.
Personal Injury Compensation
Product Liability is generally a strict liability matter. It does not matter whether the manufacturer exercised care in production or not. If the product is defective, the manufacturer is liable for damage claims. The manufacturer has a duty to examine all aspects of a product, including its design, manufacturing process, warranty and other areas that are between creation and ultimate use by a consumer. They are not responsible for misuse by a consumer, but they must inform users in advance of any known potential hazards.
Some product defect legal cases become class action suits, and victims share the total award, which can be a considerably high amount. Individuals can file for compensation under Personal Injury Law to recover costs related to an accident injury or death caused by a defective product or product failure. To obtain a victory in this type of lawsuit, several elements must be proven. The plaintiff must prove that the product or item was defective, that a defect or flaw caused the injury, and that such defect made the product unreasonably dangerous.
Designers of products, manufacturers, sellers and installers have a duty of care to perform to ensure product safety and warranty fulfillment. Any flaw along the way could create an unsafe product that could cause harm or death to the user. Product liability laws help to ensure that safe products reach the marketplace and users. Users have a right to expect that products will be safe, perform as promise, and have a good warranty to back up any promises to not cause them harm when used. Users also have a duty to use products in a safe manner, as instructions indicate, so they are not harmed by misuse.
Product Liability Attorney
There are many details that can apply to a product liability case. A case may involve others besides the user of a defective product. If an accident occurs due to a faulty product and others are injured in addition to the user of that product, those persons may also be included in a lawsuit. Under strict liability, the responsibility of the seller or manufacturer extends to cover anyone who might be injured by that product, but not if the user misused the product. The injured persons still must prove that an item was defective, it proximately caused injury, and that the defect thus made that product unreasonably dangerous.
If you or a loved one were injured by a defective product, get immediate legal advice and representation from an experienced Products Liability Attorney. Remember that time limits apply to your ability to seek fair compensation for your accident injuries. There may also be class action lawsuits already in progress for a particular defective product. Your Product Liability Lawyer will have access to relevant information about this area of law and can help you to obtain the best possible outcome from your case.