What is product liability?


Product liability arises in situations when a product is found to be defective and causes injury or property damage to the people using it. In this situation, the law of strict liability applies, and the people in charge of designing, manufacturing, selling and distributing the product can be sued, regardless of negligence or fault.

It is important to note that products liability does not only apply to commodities, but it also includes pets, real estate property, intangible products such as gas, etc.

Product Liability: Who Is To Blame?

Anyone in the chain of manufacture can be found liable in a product liability suit, regardless of where they stand in the chain of production - from the designer and the assembling manufacturer to the distributor and the retailer.

Each state has its own products liability jurisdiction, according to which, depending on the state, product liability can arise out of strict liability, negligence or breach of warranty. What all states share in their product liability legislation is the need to prove in court that the product in question has defects.

In order for product liability to be imposed, the claimant has to prove that the product is defective, that bodily injuries or property damage have been sustained, and that the product's defects are the proximate cause of the injuries or damages caused. The above requirements are essential for the claimant to be awarded damages in a product liability lawsuit.

Types of Product Defects

There are three types of flaws, and products must have at least one of them for product liability to be imposed. These include the following:

  • Manufacturing defects - occur while the product is being manufactured and can result in only a certain number of items being defected.
  • Design defects - have to do with the pre-manufacturing flaws of the product, they are considered inherent flaws since the whole lot is defected.
  • Marketing defects - occur after the manufacturing of the product and have to do with any faults in the user instructions or failure to warn users of any dangers that using the product might pose.
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