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What Is Product Liability?


Take a second to look at what’s around you – what do you see? Everything around you is a product of some kind. Like it or not, it’s impossible to escape the products in our lives – but hopefully, there’s nothing we need to be genuinely concerned about when it comes to using them.

Every day, however, people are harmed by various kinds of products on the market. Anything from paint to snowblowers, prescription medicine, children’s toys, and more can be designed, manufactured, or marketed in a way that makes it dangerous to the end-user.

The laws that govern consumer safety and the legal recourse consumers have when they are harmed by defective or dangerous products is are known as product liability laws. Product liability is an important area of law because it provides an incentive for companies to follow the laws that govern how they design, make, and advertise their products.

Who Is Responsible for a Product’s Safety?

Once a product is alleged to be dangerous or defective beyond the ordinate expectations of the consumer, a product liability lawsuit can be filed against the parties responsible.

Liability for a defective product can be assumed by one or more entities. These can include the company that designs a product, the companies involved with manufacturing the product or its component parents, the company that wholesales the product to retailers, and the retailers themselves.

How Can Products Be Defective?

Under product liability law, there are three main types of defects that can cause injury to the end-user.

These defects include the following:

  • Design defects, which are faults with the product’s design that make it inherently unsafe to use.
  • Manufacturing defects, which are those that occur while the product is being made. They can be caused by incorrect assembly, using defective components, or using different materials from those required by a product’s design.
  • Marketing defects, which include everything from how a product is advertised to improper labeling, incorrect instructions, or insufficient safety warnings.

What about Products That Are Obviously Dangerous to Use?

There are many different products on the market that have blades, use electricity, have high heat, or are toxic to people. The mere existence of these products doesn’t make them “dangerous” within the context of product liability law. If the product suffers from one of the defects listed above, however, it can be considered dangerous to the end-user.

For example, if a self-propelled lawnmower fails to stop when the driveshaft is disengaged, there could be a defect with either its design, manufacturing or both. If there is a specific procedure that must be done to disengage the driveshaft, and the lawnmower’s manual fails to mention this, then that could be a marketing defect.

Pharmaceutical drugs also end up in product liability lawsuits a lot. In many cases, this is because the manufacturer failed to warn consumers of potentially dangerous known side effects of using the drug. They can also become the subject of a lawsuit when they are tainted during the manufacturing process.

What Should I Do If I Believe I Was Harmed by a Defective Product?

If you believe you were injured by a defective product, you can reach out to our attorneys at Bertram & Graf, L.L.C. for assistance. We can help you evaluate your claim and advise you of legal options that may be available to you.

For more information about how we can help, please contact Bertram & Graf, L.L.C. online today.