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Product Liability Claims


Product liability refers to a manufacturer or seller being held liable or responsible for placing a defective product into the hands of a consumer. The law requires that a product should meet the ordinary expectations of the consumer. When a product has an unexpected defect or danger, the product cannot be said to meet the ordinary expectations of the consumer.

Product liability claims are based on state laws and brought under the theories of negligence, strict liability, or breach of warranty. A set of commercial statutes will also contain warranty rules affecting product liability. Negligence is the failure to take proper care over something, specifically a breach of a duty of care, which results in damage. Strict liability does not depend on actual negligence or the intention to harm and a breach of warranty refers to the failure of a seller to fulfill the terms of a promise, claim or representation made regarding the quality of a product.

Liability for a product defect could rest with any party in the product’s chain of distribution such as the following:
  • The product manufacturer
  • A manufacturer of component parts
  • A party that assembles the product
  • The wholesaler
  • The retailer
These are the types of defects that may cause injury and therefore give rise to liability.
  • Design defects: A defect present in the product from the beginning, even before it was manufactured.
  • Manufacturing defects: A defect that occurs during the course of the product’s manufacturing stage or its assembling stage
  • Marketing defects: A defect in the way the product is marketed or sold

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