Product Liability is the study of law which focuses on the responsibility of manufacturers,
vendors or distributors of goods to answer for and compensate individuals
for any injuries caused by the products sold. This responsibility covers
and is limited to tangible products only. When an individual uses, and
is harmed by an unsafe product, there is now a cause of action against
the parties responsible for the design, manufacturing and selling of the product.
Product liability circles mostly around defects, or imperfections in the
product that renders it unsafe for its intended use. These usually occur
when a product is improperly assembled as a result of negligence (either
in design or upon production), or external factors that were employed
in the creation of the product.
Types of Liability
Product liability claims are subdivided into three major parts:
1. Manufacturing Defect
These occur during the manufacturing process, usually due to low-quality
materials and rather substandard workmanship. These could also be caused
by machinery failures, in which the original design was not followed upon
2. Design Defect
This happens when the product design itself is defective and not well
thought of. Regardless of how seamless the manufacturing is, the final
product will still be defective because of how it is designed.
3. Marketing Defect
This is the failure-to-warn type of defect. Despite the product being
well-designed and well-made, the lack of adequate warnings could pose
danger to the consumer and possibly cause injuries.
Bases of Liability
On what grounds are product liability claims made on?
Negligence is the absence of or failure to exercise appropriate care. In
legal terms, this pertains to when an individual with a legal obligation
either failed to do what should have been done, or did what should not
have been done. In manufacturing, this may be seen when there is a lack
of attention given in the production or assembly of the product, or if
any unsafe procedures are performed and no proper sanction was given.
This claim focuses not on the manufacturer, but on the product itself.
Nonetheless, under strict liability, the manufacturer is still liable
for any injuries caused by the defects, even if proper care was administered
at the assembly of the product.
Breach of Warranty
Warranties are reassurances from the manufacturer to the seller regarding
the product sold. These are usually promises or claims regarding the quality
of the product, and may cover repairs and replacements. In this claim,
manufacturers who are unable to fulfil the contents of the warranty are
subject to product liability.
Proving Product Liability
To have a solid case of product liability, one must be able to prove that
the product was already defective at the time of purchase (or when it
left the hands of the seller or manufacturer), and that the said defect
caused the injury. This is particularly difficult when the product is
only an indirect cause of the injury, or when there are other factors
involved that don’t directly point to the product.
Do you have any concerns regarding product liability?
Contact The Kyle Law Firm for a free, no-obligation consultation today.