Product liability addresses cases involving defective or unsafe food, drugs, real estate and virtually all consumer products. Liability for any damages lies with manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers of the defective product. The original purchaser and any individual injured in the use of the product may seek damages. Because product liability cases are questions of strict liability, if the product is defective and the defect caused injury then the injured user may file a suit for damages if the user did indeed used the unchanged product as it was meant to be used. It is not necessary to prove specific negligence or intentional misbehavior on the part of the manufacturer.
The Essentials of a Good Product Liability Case
For a good case, it is absolutely necessary that the product was being used correctly when the injury occurred. If the product was used incorrectly, altered from its original condition, or the safety features on the product were disabled, then the consumer is responsible for the resulting injury.
Additional grounds for claiming damages include negligence or breach of warranty. If a manufacturer behaved negligently in testing it product or outlining directions for proper use, then grounds may be established for a suit. It is a violation of the warranty of fitness of use and freedom from defect implied by the manufacture, if the product is proven to defective or unfit for use as intended. To prove negligence, the plaintiff must demonstrate the product was defective upon leaving the control of the party being sued.
Determining a Product's Danger
There are several areas of defects that can take place in product liability. If pursuing strict liability, the injured party must demonstrate that a product defect was unreasonably dangerous for its intended use. A product can be unreasonably dangerous in the following general three areas.
1. Failure to warn about dangers associated with use of the product. Manufacturers and sellers are required to provide adequate warnings about any possible dangers and to provide clear, adequate instructions for use. Failing to do so can or may cause an otherwise useful product to become deadly.
2. The product may have a design defect. In this case, the product is manufactured with a defect which will affect use even if it is assembled perfectly. An example of such a product is a car gasoline tank with weak wall vulnerable to rupture in an impact even when the tank is correctly assembled and installed.
3. A dangerous defect may be introduced into an otherwise safe product because of improper assembly. For example, a car wheel installed with missing or cross-threaded bolts may come loose at high speed.
The product in question must be preserved. All paperwork documenting the product's origin must also be made available. Any receipts of purchase, repair records and so on are also important to building a successful case.
Call or email Wegner & Associates today to discuss your case with no obligation.