Most of the time, we do not expect the products we buy to hurt us. Otherwise, we wouldn’t buy them. But sometimes manufacturers and sellers take chances with our safety or fail to provide the consumer protections we expect. When people are harmed by a defective product, they might want to talk to an experienced attorney about filing product liability claims.
What Are Product Liability Claims?
The term “product liability” refers to the responsibility shouldered by “any or all parties along the chain of manufacture of any product for damage caused by that product.” In other words, the designer of a product can be held liable for damages their product caused. Others who might be held responsible include manufacturers, distributors, and sellers.
Some products have a defective design. Other reasons a product might be defective include:
- Poorly manufactured,
- Marketed in a deceptive way,
- Labeled incorrectly,
- Provided with inadequate or incorrect instructions, and
- Failure to disclose important information to consumers.
For example, Joe buys a riding lawn mower from a big box retail store. The ads and the salesperson talk about the new safety features that have made this the best riding lawn mower available on the market today (marketing). He gets the mower home, reads the few instructions provided (instructions), and attempts to use it. Unfortunately, several safety features don’t work (design) as promised. The gas tank is marked “Oil” (labeling) and the mower explodes, severely burning Joe. He and his family might have product liability claims against several parties associated with the mower’s design, manufacture, and sale.
How Consumers Be Protected?
When injured parties file product liability claims, the parties they sue are usually forced to recognize the defects in their products. Plaintiffs that win their product liability claims receive compensation from the parties that harmed them.
However, there may be another benefit. Companies hit with product liability claims may be more careful about providing products that work as intended, with proper disclosures and instructions.
Have There Been Any Cases Where Consumer Protection Increase Because of Product Liability Lawsuits?
Yes, sometimes companies alter the way they make, distribute, and market their products. For example, the Philip Morris Tobacco company improved its disclosures to customers after losing United States (Department of Justice) vs. Philip Morris Tobacco, et al.
In addition to better disclosures, companies may alter the products themselves or replace them with safer alternatives.
Call Us for More Information About Product Liability Claims.
If you are interested in the matters discussed in this blog, be sure to call us for a free consultation or leave a comment.
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