How Does Product Liability Work?

When people purchase a product, they have certain expectations that product will function safely and properly. When this does not occur, product liability is at stake. Defective and dangerous products are the cause of thousands of injuries per year in the U.S. These injuries differ from typical personal injury cases and specific laws are set aside for product liability. Product liability is defined as the liability for a manufacturer or seller for placing a defective product in the market for consumers. There is no federal product liability law. However, when a product fails to meet the expectations of the customer due to defects, product liability claims become necessary.

Most Common Product Defects

In all product liability cases, it must be proven that the product caused the injury due to a defect, and that the defect therefore made the product dangerous. Although anything can go wrong with a product, there are three types of defects that are most likely to cause injury and therefore create your product liability case.

  1. Design Defects – These defects are from the beginning, even before it is manufactures. It indicates that something about the product is inherently dangerous.
  2. Manufacturing Defects – These defects occur over the course of the products assembly.
  3. Marketing Defects – These defects include flaws in the way a product is marketed, such as improper labels or inadequate safety warnings.

Who Is Responsible?

“Res Pisa loquitur” is the doctrine that sometimes shifts product liability cases to the defendant. This Latin term means “speaks for itself” and therefore implies that the defect would not exist if someone was not negligent. The case then becomes about proving whether the defendant was negligent or not.

Strict liability also helps individuals in product liability cases. In strict liability cases the plaintiff only needs proof that the product was defective and not for negligent behavior. Strict liability helps eliminate the issue of manufacturer fault and recover information where they may not ave under other circumstances.

Common Defenses

Product liability cases are equally complex for the defendant and the plaintiff. The defendant will try to avoid liability as much as possible. One common defense is that the individual has not sufficiently identified the supplier of the product that caused the injury. This means that the individual must be able to specifically connect the product with the parties responsible for manufacturing it. The only exception to this rule is for defective medications that involve market share liability. This means that if an individual can not determine which one manufacture produced the medication, all manufacturers will be held liable according to its percentage of sales in the item.

The other common defense is that the individual tampered with the product after it left the manufacturer’s control. As a result, this alteration caused the injury. Similarly the individual could have also misused the product in a dangerous way.

Product liability cases are unique and complex. If you are involved in a product liability case, contact an experienced product liability attorney in Kansas City today for a free consultation. Both parties will often have significant legal representation, which is why its best to know as much as possible about product liability for your case.