Understanding Product Liability Law
Defective products cause thousands of injuries in the U.S. The law that governs injuries caused by defective products is called product liability law. Product liability is when a manufacturer or seller is held liable for selling defective products to a consumer. Here's some basic information on product liability claims.
What Do You Need to Prove a Product Liability Claim?
The laws on proving product liability claims vary depending on your jurisdiction. However, you're required to prove four elements for a valid claim. You need to prove you sustained injuries or losses, your product was defective, the defect caused your injuries, and that you were using the product appropriately.
Without an actual loss or injury, you don't have a claim. You can prove injuries through medical records. To prove that the product was defective, you need to show there was a manufacturing error or a design defect. You also need to prove that the retailer or manufacturer didn't warn you about a hazard. Additionally, you need to show that your injuries are a direct result of the defective product.
Is There Shared Blame in a Product Liability Claim?
The first thing a manufacturer will do when you file a product liability claim is prove you're to blame for the injuries. Shared blame can nullify or reduce your damage award. Your case is dismissed under pure contributory states if you're even slightly to blame for your injuries. These pure contributory fault states include the District of Columbia, Maryland, Alabama, Virginia, and North Carolina.
You can still get compensation in pure comparative states even if you're partly to blame for your injuries. Pure comparative states include California and New York. However, several states apply the modified comparative fault law. This means if you're over 50% to blame for your injuries, you lose your right to compensation. If your claim is valid, your compensation will be reduced by the share of your blame.
What Claims Can You Make in a Product Liability Claim?
One of the popular claims your personal injury lawyer may make in a product liability claim is strict liability. Under such claims, your lawyer will try to prove that your product was sold with insufficient warning and in a dangerous condition. They must also prove that you were injured by the defect.
Your lawyer can also claim negligence. In this case, they have to prove that the manufacturer owed you a duty of care and breached that duty of care, resulting in your injuries. Additionally, your lawyer can show a breach of warranty. In this case, your personal injury attorney must show there was an implied warranty, and the product failed to meet the conditions of the warranty resulting in your injuries. For more information, contact a personal injury lawyer.