Products that are in everyday use can, unfortunately, at times cause injury or even death. Consumers have the right to expect their products to be safe when used properly. This, however, isn’t always the case, and should a commercial product be found unsafe, the company responsible for the safety issue may find themself facing a product liability lawsuit.
Who is Liable?
The manufacturers, distributors, and retailers of any product have a duty to ensure that their product is safe for use. It’s possible for a product to be defective if it’s not doing what it’s supposed to do, is poorly designed, or doesn’t have the right warnings regarding the way to use it.
Types of Claims
When consumers purchase or use a product, sometimes it simply doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do. If the fault is in the product’s manufacturing, that means that although it was designed properly, there was something that went wrong in the process of making it, either in the materials used, the way it was put together, or other ways.
If this is the case, the manufacturer could be held liable instead of the company that designed or sold the product.
A defective design means that although the product was created as intended, something about the way it functions can cause harm. Examples of defective designs can include handles getting too hot or areas left where children’s fingers can get stuck in toys or products designed for infants.
When the way the product is designed is problematic, the company that designed the product is held responsible instead of the manufacturer they rely on.
Failing to Provide Warning or Instruction
This is when the product is both manufactured and designed correctly, but there are not sufficient warnings or instructions given to use it safely—for example, if a product doesn’t highlight that you need to wear protective equipment for safe use.
A consumer who has been injured can claim under breach of contract, which means that the product does not comply with the terms agreed when the product was purchased. They can also claim under negligence. It is the responsibility of the manufacturers, distributors, and retailers of products to make sure that their products are safe to use. They need to ensure that they:
- Give sufficient warning about the potential risks;
- Are monitoring the safety of the products; and
- Take appropriate action if a safety issue is found.
What to Do If Your Business Faces a Product Liability Suit
Businesses have the responsibility to ensure they are providing a safe, functional product for their consumers to use. If they fail to do this, then their consumers have the right to make a valid claim against them, and manufacturers, retailers, and suppliers all need to make sure they take the relevant steps to fix the issue and rectify the customer relationship.
However, if you are caught off guard by a product liability issue you weren’t aware of or that wasn’t the fault of your company, you need to know what your options are and how to protect your business. Unfortunately at times, you may even be faced with a claim that isn’t true or valid. When you’re faced with product liability issues, a commercial litigation attorney will be able to assist you.