What You Should Know About Product Liability Law
Defining Product Liability Law
Product liability law allows anyone who purchases a defective product to be compensated for their injuries. Injuries can result from products that were improperly designed, manufactured, or packaged. The most common product liability claims fall under the theory of strict liability because the plaintiff does not have to prove that the person who sold the item committed any wrongdoing. The plaintiff has to show that the item was defective when purchased and that the defective item caused the injury. If this cannot be established, the plaintiff can pursue other theories that fall under the law such as, negligence, breach of warranty, or fraudulent misrepresentation.
Who Qualifies to File
The law does not allow everyone who gets injured by a product to file a case and receive compensation for damages. To qualify for a claim, the injury had to be predictable. An injured person doesn’t necessarily have to be the one who purchased the product; they could have been a bystander who got hurt. If the manufacturer could not have predicted the injury, then the injured person does not qualify to file a claim.
Who is Technically Liable
When a plaintiff files a product liability claim, the plaintiff can sue everyone in the chain of distribution, starting with everyone involved in the product’s conception and ending with whoever sold the defective product. The list of possible defendants consists of design companies, parts manufacturers, assembly plants, marketing firms, suppliers, and retailers. The law also does not allow everyone to be liable. The defendant must be a business that regularly sells the specified product or similar goods. The defendant cannot be someone who sells a defective product at a garage sale.
Determining a Defective Product
The law states that businesses must design safe products with appropriate instructions on how to properly use such products. If the plaintiff can create an alternative product that is safer than the intended product, then the original product is considered defective.
There are cases where a product was designed safe, but a component within the product was made improperly without the defendant realizing. In this case, this would be considered a manufacturing defect.
The law does not forbid dangerous products from being sold, so long as they include proper instructions and warnings. If the manufacturer does not abide by these terms, then the law considers this to be a marketing or packaging defect, which in turn qualifies the product as defective.
It’s important to know that even if a flaw is found in a product’s design, some courts require one of two tests to determine if the defendant is liable. The first test is the risk-utility test, which is a test that gives the defendant the opportunity to prove that the product’s utility outweighs its risk of harm. The second test is the consumer expectation test, which determines if a reasonable consumer would find the product defective when using it in a reasonable manner.
Which Products Qualify
Products that qualify in a product liability case include not only tangible personal products, but also: intangibles, naturals, real estate, and writings. Examples of tangible products would be auto parts, boats, jet skis, children’s toys, child car seats, hand tools, machinery, and many more. Other items that classify as defective products are: gas, pets, houses, and navigational charts.
Understanding product liability law will help consumers receive the compensation they deserve for injuries caused by defective products. When people purchases goods, they expect a safe and pleasurable experience. Being injured by a defective product is a huge inconvenience and consumers should be rightfully compensated for such dangerous incidents.
Los Angeles Injury Lawyer
If you’ve been injured as the result of a defective product, please contact our experienced lawyers. For a free consultation, call the Los Angeles Injury Group at (310) 954-7248 to received a no-cost evaluation of your case and discuss how best to proceed forward.