What Everyone Should Know About Product Liability

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A personal injury is one that occurs due to an accident or intentional act of another person, business, or entity. Some of the most common types of personal injuries occur from auto accidents, slips and falls, and animal bites. Another type of personal injury is an injury or illness that occurs from using a product. From the time the product was designed until it is being used by the consumer, there are points of interaction where the liability may lie.

Types of Product Liability

Attorney G. Martin Meyers explains that injuries can arise from design defects, manufacturing defects, or a failure of the product maker to be forthcoming with the associated dangers of the product. The design may be faulty, the manufacturer may have used improper materials or methods to produce the product, or the retailer may have improperly displayed or stored the product. Whoever is to blame for the consumer’s injury may be responsible for paying damages.

Product liability can also result during manufacturing. Lead paint on baby bibs, E.coli in spinach, and broken glass in baby food are just a few examples of the high profile cases that have happened over the last several years. While it might seem to some people that it is impossible for a manufacturer to know when the materials they seem are defective or contaminated, they do have the responsibility of testing and inspecting the products they make at the appropriate stages. An experienced product liability attorney knows what to look for when determining where the mistake was made in allowing a defective product to reach their client.

Retailers can also be blamed if they offer a hazardous product or display it incorrectly. Some products are knowingly hazardous and require special care. While chemical products such as pesticides are expected to be appropriately labelled, there are also expectations for how these products are packaged, displayed, and distributed to the consumer.

State Laws

A product liability attorney will be aware of the state laws and the impact they have on your product liability claim. For example, a few states have laws which protect retailers from strict liability. In these states, the person making the claim must prove that the retailer was negligent before they can receive compensation. There are also some specific details that determine whether the designer or manufacturer of the product is at fault.

People often assume if they were using a product in a way other than originally intended when they were injured, they do not have a product liability case against the manufacturer of the product. However, in most states, the degree to which the injury occurred due to misuse and the degree of defect that was responsible are both taken into consideration.

The laws involving product liability are complex and may be much different than you imagined. A product liability attorney can explain how the laws of your state pertain to your situation and your legal rights for filing a claim.

Sources:

  1. http://www.marlerclark.com/pdfs/intro-product-liability-law.pdf
  2. http://www.alllaw.com/articles/nolo/personal-injury/strict-product-liability-laws.html

3. http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/Product_liability.aspx

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