As a consumer, you have the right to expect that the products you purchase are safe to use. However, accidents can happen, and sometimes products can cause harm due to defects or design flaws. In such cases, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. To help you understand your legal rights as a consumer in product liability cases, we've put together this guide.
What is Product Liability?
Product liability refers to the legal responsibility that manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, retailers, and other parties involved in the chain of commerce may have for placing defective or dangerous products in the hands of consumers. It is an area of law that deals with holding these parties accountable for any harm or injuries caused by their products.
When a product is deemed defective or unreasonably dangerous, and it causes harm to a consumer or damages their property, the affected party may have the right to pursue a product liability claim. Product liability laws aim to protect consumers by ensuring that products are safe for their intended use and by providing avenues for legal recourse when harm occurs due to defects or hazards associated with products.
Product liability claims typically revolve around three types of defects:
- Design Defects: These are flaws in the product's design that make it inherently dangerous.
- Manufacturing Defects: These are defects that occur during the manufacturing process, such as a missing part or a faulty component.
- Marketing Defects: These are defects in the way the product is marketed, such as inadequate warnings or instructions.
Types of Product Liability Claims
If you've been injured by a defective product, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. In general, there are two types of claims that can be made in product liability cases:
- Negligence: This claim is based on the idea that the manufacturer, distributor, or seller failed to exercise reasonable care in designing, manufacturing, or selling the product.
- Strict Liability: This claim is based on the idea that the product was defective and caused your injuries, regardless of whether the manufacturer, distributor, or seller was negligent.
Consumers' Rights in Product Liability Cases
Consumers have specific legal rights in product liability cases to protect them from harm caused by defective products. These rights can vary depending on the jurisdiction, but some common legal rights that consumers may possess include:
Right to Safety: Consumers have the right to expect that products they purchase and use will be safe when used as intended or as reasonably foreseeable. Manufacturers and other parties in the supply chain have a legal duty to produce and distribute products that are reasonably safe and free from defects.
Right to Compensation: If a consumer suffers harm or injuries due to a defective product, they have the right to seek compensation for their damages. This can include medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, pain and suffering, and other related losses resulting from the defect.
Right to Information: Consumers have the right to receive accurate and complete information about the products they purchase. This includes clear instructions for proper use, any necessary warnings about potential risks, and information about the product's ingredients or components, if applicable.
Right to Product Recalls: In cases where a product is found to be defective or dangerous, consumers have the right to be informed about product recalls or corrective actions taken by manufacturers. This allows consumers to take appropriate steps to protect themselves and seek remedies if they have already been harmed.
Right to Sue: Consumers have the right to file a product liability lawsuit against the responsible parties when they have been injured or suffered damages due to a defective product. This legal recourse allows them to seek compensation for their losses and hold the negligent parties accountable.
Right to Class Action Lawsuits: In situations where a large number of consumers have been harmed by the same defective product, they may have the right to participate in a class action lawsuit. Class action lawsuits allow multiple affected individuals to consolidate their claims into a single legal action, providing efficiency and cost-effectiveness.
Elements to Prove in a Product Liability Claim
To make a successful product liability claim, you'll need to prove that:
- The product was defective.
- The defect caused your injuries.
- You were using the product as intended.
- You suffered damages as a result of your injuries.
What Should You Do if You've Been Injured by a Defective Product?
If you've been injured by a defective product, there are several steps you should take:
- Seek medical attention immediately.
- Preserve the product and any packaging or instructions that came with it.
- Document your injuries and any expenses related to your injuries.
- Contact an experienced product liability attorney.
How Can Shoop | A Professional Law Corporation Help?
At Shoop | A Professional Law Corporation, we have extensive experience representing clients in product liability cases. Our team of attorneys can help you understand your legal rights and pursue the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.