If you or someone you know has been injured due to a defective product, the injured party may be eligible to receive payment for damages. This article will outline what a product liability claim is and how you can benefit from one.
What Is a Product Liability Claim?
A product liability claim is a case where you seek compensation as a result of harm or injury that was caused due to a potentially defective product.
This claim may arise from any transaction relating to the product itself. This type of case is usually pursued by consumers of products that have sustained injuries because of a defect.
Some typical examples of the claims include:
- Injuries caused by defective medical devices;
- Malfunctioning medical implants;
- Faulty appliances or equipment;
- Accidents caused by a defective vehicle, etc.
There are often trends in the types of product liability cases common to certain time periods, due to the same faulty products causing issues for many different people. For example, between 1992 and 2001, both product liability cases and premises liability cases experienced a sharp decline, but medical malpractice and automobile accident product liability cases increased.
Common Types of Product Liability Claims
There are three categories that product liability claims usually fall under: defective manufacturing, defective design, and failure to provide adequate warning or instruction. Which type of case your situation fits under will help determine the party that should be held liable.
A defect in manufacturing is a flaw in the physical creation of a product that was (unintentionally) caused by the manufacturer.
Defective manufacturing can end up being problematic for other companies within the supply chain, especially if the defectively manufactured product is a part of the final product that the company sells.
Manufacturing defects tend to be uncommon when it comes to product liability law, as the cause of the damage or injury can often be difficult to prove.
However, as a consumer, you are able to utilize an allowance called Malfunction Doctrine, which can aid those who are pursuing a manufacturing defect case. This doctrine allows a plaintiff to argue the fault of the product without having the product itself as evidence, as may be necessary in cases where the malfunctioning product was destroyed as a result of its malfunction.
If the plaintiff can produce evidence that can remove any other possible causes, it may be enough to warrant compensation.
A defective design occurs when there is a flaw in the design of a product. If that flaw causes harm or injury, the company may be held responsible, whether or not that company was aware of the flaw. Sometimes, a company assumes a minor issue to be inconsequential, which can get them into a lot of trouble if the products fail or have defects relating to the issue.
In many defective design claims, plaintiffs show how the risk could have been reduced or avoided by using an alternative design. If the alternative design is shown to be a feasible option, the manufacturer could be at fault for not opting to produce it.
An example of defective design could be a poorly designed fan, where the guard to protect a person’s fingers was too thin and therefore caused the individual’s fingers to slip into the fan’s blades and injure themselves.
If it could be proved that a thicker guard or smaller gaps in the guard could have been a realistic part of the design, then it proves the manufacturer is at fault. There may be challenges to this claim, such as how feasible it would be to create an alternative design in terms of cost. When doing a cost-benefit analysis, the two types of legal claims this would usually be discussed under are negligence and strict liability.
Failure to Provide Warning or Instruction
A company can be held liable for failure to include warnings or instructions on products. If adequate warnings of potential hazards or instructions for safe use aren’t included and a consumer injures themselves, then a claim may be possible.
In terms of disputes for this claim, the major question is whether the plaintiff’s injury or risk of injury was an obvious one they could have foreseen, or whether it was completely unexpected. For example, if you’re given a box of matches, you’ll know that they could ignite and cause danger to you and others around you. However, if a flammable object wasn’t indicated as flammable and the consumer used heat around this object, that could be cause for a liability claim.
These types of claims are also common in pharmaceutical cases involving medication, when warnings of side effects are not fully disclosed or the patient isn’t given full instructions for correct, safe use.
Using an Insurance Attorney for Accusations of Product Liabilities
Businesses have the responsibility to provide safe and functional products to their customers. If a business fails to do so, then an insurance attorney can assist those who fall victim to the product’s failures.
An experienced insurance attorney can listen to the details of your case and determine the best course of legal action, as well as help you obtain the highest possible settlement.