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Product Liability 101

As consumers, we expect the products we purchase and use to operate safely. When this does not happen, either due to a design defect, a manufacturing defect, or something else, we may be harmed as a result. Sometimes, these defects are due to accidents or mistakes, and other times, they are the result of negligence. Get the facts on product liability and learn how to file a valid claim.

Understanding Product Liability

Product liability law consists of legal rules that dictate who is responsible for defective or dangerous products. This type of law differs from regular personal injury law, which makes it easier for those injured by defective products to recover the compensation they deserve.

Specifically, product liability refers to a manufacturer or retailer being held liable for distributing a defective product into the hands of consumers. If a defective product causes injury to a consumer, any and all parties involved in the product’s design, manufacture, and sale may be held liable for damages.

There are three main types of product defects: design defects, manufacturing defects, and marketing defects.

Design Defect

This type of defect is present in a product before it is even manufactured. Something in the product is inherently unsafe. Examples of design defects include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • A particular model of car that has a tendency to flip over when turning

  • A type of sunglasses that fails to protect the wearer’s eyes from UV rays

  • A line of electric blankets that can electrocute the user when turned on high

Manufacturing Defect

This type of defect occurs during the course of the product’s manufacture or assembly. Examples of manufacturing defects include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • A swing set with a cracked chain

  • A tainted batch of medicine containing a poisonous substance

  • A car missing its brake pads

Marketing Defect

This type of defect includes flaws in the way the product is marketed or labeled, including improper or misleading labeling, insufficient instructions, or inadequate safety warnings. Examples of marketing defects include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • A cough syrup that does not contain adequate labeling that it may cause dangerous side effects if taken in combination with another drug

  • A corrosive chemical that is sold without proper instructions for safe handling and use

Who May Be Held Responsible?

Parties that may be held liable for a defective product can be any of those involved in the product’s design, manufacture, and sale, including the following:

  • The product’s manufacturer

  • A manufacturer of component parts

  • A party that assembles the product

  • The wholesaler

  • The retailer

For strict liability to apply to a product liability claim, the product’s sale must be made in the course of the supplier’s business. Therefore, a private party who sells a defective product at a garage sale or through eBay, for example, could not be held liable in a product liability claim.

Consequences of Product Liability

The consequences of product liability can pose dangerous risks to consumers. Auto product defects, for example, can lead to catastrophic car accidents, injuries, and even death. Defective products that were not properly inspected for toxins or contaminants may make consumers seriously ill.

Whether a product had a defect due to an accident or negligence, it’s important to report any and all product defects so future consumers are protected from these hazards.

What Constitutes a Product Liability Claim?

Bringing forth a valid product liability claim is difficult, but it’s not impossible. A product may be considered defective and provide grounds for a valid product liability claim if the following is true:

  • The product had an inherent design or manufacturing defect, was mislabeled, or was marketed for improper use.

  • A consumer was injured while using the product in a reasonably safe and proper manner.

  • The defect was the cause of the consumer’s injuries.

Consumers who have been injured by a defective product usually benefit from working with an experienced product liability attorney who can help them navigate through this complex legal process.

Oftentimes, the same product defect harms a large number of consumers because a batch of the product was designed or manufactured improperly. In this case, your product liability claim may become part of a class-action lawsuit against the same negligent party. If the attorneys representing you and other affected parties are able to prove negligence on the part of those responsible for designing, manufacturing, or selling the product, you may be able to recover a significant amount of damages as part of the settlement.

Harmed by a Defective Product? Contact Us Today

At Huffman & Huffman Brothers-in-Law, PLLC, we believe that defective products need to be exposed for what they are. We fight to help victims recover much-needed financial compensation for the injuries or losses they have experienced.

Our product liability attorneys work diligently to protect the rights and interests of consumers across Virginia. We know how difficult life can be after a serious injury or the loss of a loved one. We have the experience and wherewithal to hold negligent manufacturers, distributors, and other large corporations responsible for allowing defective and dangerous products to land in innocent consumers’ hands.

If you have been injured by a defective product, contact one of our skilled and professional attorneys about your options. We’re not afraid of going up against large corporations in cases regarding product liability.

Contact us today at (757) 330-3425 to learn how we can help you.