Understanding Product Liability: The 3 Most Common Types of ClaimsRequest a Free Consultation
Product liability claims are an essential aspect of consumer protection, ensuring that individuals have recourse and compensation when they sustain injuries or suffer damages due to defective products. Understanding the different types of product liability claims is crucial for both consumers and manufacturers alike. In this blog, we will provide an insightful overview of the three most common product liability claims (Breach of Warranty, Negligence, and Strict Liability), shedding light on their significance in the field of consumer safety and providing valuable knowledge for those seeking it.
Breach of Warranty Claims
Breach of warranty claims serves as a prominent type of product liability claim, focusing on the failure of a product to meet the promises made by the manufacturer or seller. In essence, a breach of warranty occurs when a product does not perform as expected or fails to meet the standards outlined in either an expressed or implied warranty.
Expressed warranties are those explicitly stated and defined by the manufacturer or seller, often found in written contracts or promotional materials, while implied warranties are unspoken assurances that the product is fit for its intended purpose. To illustrate this category of product liability claims, consider the following examples: a consumer purchases a new laptop with an expressed warranty guaranteeing its performance for one year, only to have the device malfunction after six months. Another scenario involves a vehicle purchased with an implied warranty of merchantability, but shortly after driving off the lot, the brakes fail, causing an accident.
Successfully pursuing a breach of warranty claim entails meeting certain burdens of proof and legal requirements. The burden of proof lies with the injured party, who must demonstrate that a warranty existed, the product did not meet said warranty, and that they suffered damages as a direct result. Additionally, the injured party must generally show that they used the product as intended and did not contribute to the defect through misuse or negligence.
Negligence claims form another significant category within product liability, focusing on the failure of a company to exercise reasonable care in the design, manufacturing, or marketing of a product. A negligence claim arises when a company’s actions or lack thereof result in harm to a consumer. Central to a negligence claim is the concept of duty of care, which holds companies responsible for ensuring their products are reasonably safe for their intended use.
Manufacturers must exercise caution and take appropriate measures to identify potential hazards during the product’s design and production phases. Companies also have a duty to provide clear instructions and adequate warnings regarding any potential risks associated with the use of their products.
In order to successfully pursue a negligence claim, several elements must be established. Firstly, the injured party must demonstrate that the company owes a duty of care to the consumer. Secondly, it needs to be shown that the company breached that duty by failing to meet the expected standard of care. This could involve negligence in manufacturing, design defects, or inadequate warnings. Thirdly, it must be proven that the breach directly caused the injury or damage suffered by the consumer. Lastly, the injured party must illustrate the extent of the damages caused.
Many examples of negligence claims in product liability cases exist. For instance, a company may face a negligence claim if they fail to adequately test a medication before releasing it to the market, resulting in harmful side effects for patients. Similarly, a manufacturer might face a negligence claim if they release a vehicle with faulty brakes, leading to accidents and injuries.
Strict Liability Claims
Strict liability claims represent a unique category within product liability, where the focus shifts from proving negligence or breach of warranty to establishing the inherent danger or defect in a product. Under strict liability, a manufacturer or seller can be held responsible for injuries caused by a defective product regardless of their level of care or intent.
In a strict liability claim, there is no requirement for the injured party to prove negligence or breach of warranty. Instead, they must demonstrate that the product was unreasonably dangerous or defective and that this defect directly caused their injury or damage. This relieves the burden on the consumer, making it easier to pursue a claim against the responsible party.
Not only manufacturers but also other parties in the distribution chain, including wholesalers and retailers, may be held accountable in strict liability claims. Each party involved in bringing the defective product to the market can be potentially liable for the harm caused.
To provide some examples, strict liability claims can arise from cases such as a malfunctioning medical device causing harm to a patient or a household appliance with a manufacturing defect causing a fire. In these instances, manufacturers may be held strictly liable for the injuries caused.
The outcomes of strict liability claims vary based on the circumstances and evidence presented. In some cases, the injured party may be awarded compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. In other cases, the verdict may result in a product recall, forcing companies to take corrective actions to prevent further harm.
In conclusion, product liability claims play a vital role in protecting consumers and ensuring their safety. The three most common types of product liability claims are breach of warranty, negligence, and strict liability. Understanding these three types of product liability claims is essential for both consumers seeking justice and compensation for injuries caused by defective products and manufacturers aiming to ensure their products meet safety standards and mitigate potential liabilities. By being aware of their rights and responsibilities, individuals can navigate the complex field of product liability and contribute to a safer marketplace. For help with your own unique product liability claim, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer.