What Constitutes Product Liability?
Sometimes the products we use every day to make our lives easier can end up making them much more complicated. Each year, countless individuals are injured, or even killed, as a direct result of a faulty or improperly used product. When this happens, there can be a certain degree responsibility that is attributable to the product, its makers, or their agents. Product liability may attach to any person or entity in the chain, from manufacturer to retailer, depending on the circumstances of your injury and their part in the process.
Product liability differs from normal personal injury in that a product is responsible for injury or death rather than an individual or entity. How, or if, you can recover damages is another way that the two differ. A product liability action may arise in one of several ways. The liability can be a result of a defect in design or manufacturing of a consumer product, or faulty delivery of a consumer service. Or, liability might arise as the result of a safety issue that was discovered but not brought to the attention of consumers. In either instance, certain factors have to be present in order for the claim to be legitimate.
Design vs. Manufacturing Defects
Design defect covers a dangerous flaw that existed when the product was created. But proof of negligence is not always necessary in order for someone to be held liable. There are instances when a more up-to-date process of manufacturing could have been used which would have made the product safer to use. In this case, since the manufacturer did not utilize the better course of action, they could be liable for the consequences of the lesser process.
Manufacturing defects are different in that the finished product is not exactly what was intended. For example, a stove is designed, but the manufacturer makes alterations in the design while the stove is being made, resulting in the stove causing fires. The manufacturer, and not the designer, could be held liable because they did not precisely follow the design that was given to them.
Seeking Out The Responsible Party
Even if it cannot be proven that a specific entity was responsible, a plaintiff may still recover damages. All that is necessary is that they prove there was a defect in the product.
The goal of a personal injury or product liability claim is to determine who is ultimately responsible for making the unsafe product available to the consumer. Following the chain of distribution for a product might reveal that the product was sold directly from the manufacturer. It could also find that the retailer who received it from distributors and placed it on their shelves can be held liable.
Some restrictions apply to those who supply the product. In order for strict liability to exist, it must be demonstrated that it was a part of the defendant’s regular course of business. In other words, a retailer could be held responsible, whereas an individual selling an item to another person probably would not.
Protect Your Family and Your Future
If you suspect that a product or service is responsible for injury or death to you or a family member, then you should speak to a personal injury attorney as soon as possible about what courses of action may be available to you. Since these entities almost always have legal counsel at their disposal, it’s important to put your well-being in the hands of a capable attorney who knows how to work within the system to get you the compensation you deserve.
For Additional Information:
Let Mara Burnett Help You Assess Your Product Liability Claim
If you or a loved one is dealing with an injury suffered through no fault your own, Mara Burnett can help. Experienced and reputable, Mara and the other attorneys at Mandell Law provide hands-on care and a sincere commitment to victims of personal injury and harms of all kinds, including product liability and negligence. The Mandell Law Firm, in Woodland Hills, California is an aggressive personal injury law firm serving clients throughout the San Fernando Valley, the Greater Los Angeles area and Southern California. Contact Mara Burnett for a free consultation at 818.886.6600.