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Product Liability Meaning & Legal Definition

Products liability is an area of law that assigns responsibility when defective products injure consumers. Depending on the circumstances, the liability for a defective product might fall anywhere along the production chain:

  • The product manufacturer
  • The manufacturer of one of the product’s component parts
  • The wholesaler
  • The shipper
  • The retailer

Product liability generally associates with tangible consumer goods: electronics, appliances, automobiles, tools, and the like. But it can also include items such as real estate, natural gas, utilities, and even pets.

Types of Products Liability Claims

Products liability claims tend to fall into one or more of three categories: negligence, strict liability, or breach of warranty of fitness.

Negligence

A product liability claim based on negligence asserts that a party along the production chain failed to uphold their standard of care and, as a result, the product went to market with a defect that subsequently caused harm.

Examples of negligence include shoddy construction, improper shipping practices, and knowingly putting an untested product on the market.

Strict Liability

Most products liability claims are based on strict liability. Under this doctrine, the injured party does not have to prove negligence or any other wrongful act on the part of the manufacturer. All that matters is that the product contained a defect, and the defect injured a user who was using it for its intended purpose. In other words, manufacturers are strictly liable for the products they put on the market.

Breach of Warranty of Fitness

A breach of warranty of fitness claim involves a false promise made by a seller to a buyer. For example, a nutritional supplement company might sell a weight loss product to a consumer, claiming that the supplement causes no unpleasant side-effects. The consumer then takes the product and experiences complications. If the consumer can link the illness to the supplement, he or she can file a claim against the manufacturer for breach of warranty of fitness.

Types of Product Defects

Products can contain hundreds of types of defects, and these defects can have several causes. The most common are design defects, manufacturing defects, and defects in marketing.

Design Defects

Design defects are inherent flaws in the design of the product. These flaws get introduced before a single product is manufactured, and they thus affect every product made until the defect is identified and corrected.

Manufacturing Defects

Manufacturing defects occur due to mistakes in the actual production of the product. A manufacturing flaw can affect a single product, a handful of products, or an entire batch.

Defects in Marketing

Defects in marketing happen when a manufacturer or retailer fails to provide adequate instructions for the use of a product or fails to warn users about a danger associated with the product.

Injured by a Defective Product? Call the Lawyers at Newsome Melton for a Free Case Evaluation

The Newsome Melton legal team can help you win damages from the manufacturer if you were injured by a defective product. To schedule a free case evaluation with a member of our team, call 888-808-5977 today.

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Product Liability Lawyer - Newsome Melton

Product Liability Lawyer - Newsome Melton
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