Consumers who are injured using a product as it was intended may have a product liability claim. However, problems sometimes arise with consumer goods, and even seemingly benign products may have the potential to cause injury to consumers.
Types of Product Liability Cases
Product liability law extends to just about any good that can be bought or sold. Product liability cases are categorized in three groups:
- Design Defects: Product liability claims may succeed where mistakes were made in a product’s design process. If the product’s design makes it dangerous to use the product as intended, liability may be assigned to the product’s designer. Moreover, the designer may be liable if the product’s design makes it dangerous if it is used for any reasonably foreseeable purpose.
- Manufacturing Defects: Product liability claims may succeed where a defect in the manufacturing process causes an injury. The manufacturer of the product may be liable if the product was manufactured or assembled in a manner making it dangerous for consumers.
- Marketing Defects: Product liability claims may succeed where a product is mislabeled or labeled poorly, such that consumers are not adequately warned of potential dangers that the product presents. The party responsible for marketing or labeling may be held liable if the injury can be directly traced to a marketing defect.
Recovering Compensation in a Product Liability Case
Plaintiffs may have more than one option for proving liability in a product liability case. As with most personal injury cases, one option for proving liability is showing that the seller or producer of the product acted negligently. However, because proving negligence can be extremely difficult where a product is mass-produced and sold to the general public, alternative theories exist for proving liability.
Product liability claims can succeed under a theory of strict liability. Instead of proving the elements of negligence, plaintiffs must instead demonstrate the following:
- An unreasonably dangerous defect in the product caused the injury.
- The product was being used as intended when the injury was sustained.
- The product was not substantially altered from its condition at purchase.
Sellers and designers of products use a variety of strategies to overcome strict liability claims. One defense is that the consumer knew of the defect and continued to use the product. Another defense is that the consumer altered the product from its original state, thereby creating the defect. Creative defenses are plentiful, and plaintiffs should recruit a knowledgeable product liability attorney to help develop their case.
Breach of warranty provides another theory under which a product liability claim can succeed. Even where a product is not covered by a written warranty, the theory of implied warranty may be suitable. This theory holds that an implied warranty exists between buyers and sellers, which is breached if a product defect prevents the buyer from using the product as intended. A Mesa product liability attorney can examine a plaintiff’s case and determine which theory is most suitable for pursuing compensation.
Call Personal Injury Attorney Jared Everton at (480) 467-4392 to discuss your case today.