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Makers of Defective Products Can Be Liable for Damages

Millions of consumer products are produced every year. With mass production and use of these products has come numerous injuries. Sometimes the injuries are the user’s fault. Many times, however, they are caused by defective products.

People who are injured by a defective product can make a claim to recover compensation for their injuries and losses. Common sources of product liability claims include clothes, sports equipment, children’s toys, tools, furniture, medical devices, drugs, household appliances and many other commonly used items and medical products.

Grounds for Liability

Many grounds exist to win damages if you are injured by a defective product. One basis for holding a manufacturer liable is “negligence.” For example, the manufacturer may have been negligent in making or designing the product.

Another ground for holding a manufacturer liable is “breach of warranty.” This occurs when a manufacturer breaks a promise it made about what the product can do. An example would be the case of a 200 pound man who gets injured when the ladder he is using breaks — and the ladder’s manufacturer had stated the ladder supports people up to 300 pounds.

Another ground for recovery in many cases is “strict liability.” To recover damages under strict liability, a person generally only has to show a product is defective and that the defect caused his or her injuries. The injury victim does not need to show the manufacturer was negligent in making or designing the product or that it breached a warranty.

A manufacturer may be liable under all three grounds — negligence, breach of warranty and strict liability. However, rules vary from state to state regarding which grounds are available and the proof needed to recover damages. A lawyer should therefore be consulted in connection with any product liability claim.

When is a Product Defective?

Under the law, a product can be defective in several ways:

• Manufacturing defect. A manufacturing defect occurs when the product is not made according to specifications. For example, a piece may be missing or the product may not be built properly, causing it to be dangerous.

• Design defect. A design defect occurs when there is something wrong with the product’s design. Thus, a product built according to instructions may be defective if the instructions are the source of the problem. For example, the product’s creators may have used the wrong type of material or may not have included adequate safety shields when designing the product.

• Inadequate warnings. A product can also be defective if it does not include adequate warnings about possible dangers or complete instructions on how to use it.

Who Is Liable?
Liability for defective products generally extends to any party involved in the “chain of distribution” of the product. This includes the product’s manufacturer, distributor, and the store where the product was bought.

Damages You Can Recover

There are many different types of damages you can recover if you are injured by a defective product. Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to recover for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and disfigurement.

If you are injured by a product, call us to determine if you are entitled to compensation for your injuries, even if you think you are partly to blame for them. Injuries that on the surface look like they were caused by the user often turn out to have been caused by a defective product. Also, certain legal principles may let you recover money even if you are partly to blame for your injuries. It is best to call us as soon after the injury as possible, as there are time limits for filing claims. Also, the faster you call, the more likely a proper investigation can be made, which can help increase your financial recovery.

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