When a defective product injures or kills a consumer, it can make big news and garner a tremendous amount of public attention. Each year, approximately 34 million people are hurt or killed by defective products. These accidents cost more than $12 billion to address, treat, and remedy annually. Tens of thousands of product liability lawsuits are filed in the United States every year. But unfortunately, not all defective products are recalled or taken off the market in time to prevent other innocent consumers from being seriously hurt or killed.
If you’d like to know more about products liability law and lawsuits against the manufacturer or supplier of a product that’s defective, please read the following.
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A products liability lawsuit is a type of civil lawsuit filed against the maker of a product. In a products liability lawsuit, the plaintiff claims that he or she (or a group of people) were injured or damaged by a product that was defective or not suitable for the use it was advertised for. These suits are often class action lawsuits, which means that a group of people who have the same claims against a particular defendant file a lawsuit jointly against that defendant.
The term “products liability” refers to the potential legal liability of any or all parties along the “chain of manufacture” of a product that causes harm to consumers. The “chain of manufacture” includes the manufacturer(s) of all component parts used in the product, an assembling manufacturer, the wholesaler, and the owner(s) of retail stores that sell the defective product.
When a product contains an inherent defect that causes harm to a consumer of the product, or to someone to whom the product was loaned or given, it may be the subject of a product liability lawsuit. Generally, “products” are considered to be tangible personal property. However, the body of product liability case law has expanded the definition of “product” to include intangible items such as gas and other items such as pets, houses and other real property, and writings (such as maps and navigational charts).
Depending on where a products liability lawsuit is filed, claims may be based on negligence, strict liability, or breach of warranty of fitness. There is no federal products liability law, but many states have enacted comprehensive products liability statutes. California is one of these states. The United States Department of Commerce, in response to widely varied products liability laws from state to state, promulgated a Model Uniform Products Liability Act. It is not binding, and states may choose whether to incorporate the model rules into their laws governing products liability.
The Uniform Commercial Code is another source of products liability law. Article 2 of the UCC, which has been adopted by most states, deals with the sales of goods. Its most important products liability sections deal with implied and express warranties of merchantability in the sale of goods. See UCC §§ 2-314 and § 2-315.
In order to recover for injuries caused by a product made available to consumers, one must prove that the product is defective. There are three different types of product defects that a manufacture or supplier may be liable for:
Products liability is generally considered a strict liability offense. This means that the degree of carefulness by the defendant has no bearing on his or her liability. In terms of product liability, a defendant is liable when it is shown that the product is defective. Even if the manufacturer or supplier exercised great care in supplying the product to the public, he or she will be liable if there is a defect in the product that causes harm.
If you or a loved one have been injured by a product that you believe was defective, you should contact an experienced Riverside personal injury attorney as quickly as possible after an accident. The reputable lawyers at Estey & Bomberger have years of experience successfully pursuing claims for Riverside victims of faulty product-related accidents and they can help you get the care you need, communicate directly with insurance company representatives, and pursue compensation from all sources. For a free consultation, you can reach their Riverside, CA office by calling (951) 543-9020.
If you are hesitant to contact us about your claim, it may help you to gain an understanding of what personal injury law is, and what is is not. We are ready to help you. Whether you prefer talking on the phone, coming into our office in Riverside, or you need us to come to where you are, give us a call at 951-543-9020 to schedule an appointment.