What is product liability law?

If you have been injured as a result of a defective product, you may be wondering if you can bring a successful product liability claim. A product liability claim could help prevent future harm to others and help you gain compensation for your injuries.

Product liability law is defined as the set of legal rules concerning who is responsible for defective or dangerous products. A manufacturer, distributor or seller is required by law to make sure that their product meets the ordinary expectations of a consumer. When a product contains a defect, the responsible party has breached their obligation to the law and to the consumer. 

Who can file a product liability lawsuit?

To prevail on a product liability claim, a plaintiff must prove as follows: that the product in question was defective, that the product defect caused their injury, the plaintiff was injured due to the product’s defect and the seller, distributor or manufacturer owed a duty to the plaintiff to make, sell or distribute a reasonably safe product. 

If you have been injured by a product due to defects in:

• Product marketing- the product in question had improper labeling, inadequate safety warnings or poor instructions;

• Design- issue in the inherent design of the product which makes it unsafe; or

• Manufacturing- a defect that has occurred during the product’s assembly or manufacture. 

You may be eligible to file a lawsuit and recover compensatory and punitive damages, including but not limited to medical costs, pain and suffering, and lost wages. 

Defective product claims are based on state laws. Depending on the state, a product liability claim can be based on theories of:

• Negligence- plaintiff must prove duty, breach, causation and damages;

• Strict liability- manufacturer, distributor or seller is legally responsible for the consequences flowing from a defective product even in the absence of fault or criminal intent on the part of the defendant; or

• Breach of warranty- broken promise about a product made by a manufacturer, distributor or seller.

It is important to bear in mind that damages in a product liability lawsuit can be substantially limited if the injured party knew of the defect before using the product in question or mishandled the product, causing their injury. 

How an attorney can help

If you or a loved one has suffered due to a defective product, it is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible, because all civil lawsuits have a statute of limitations. In other words, a lawsuit must to be brought within a certain time period after the date of injury or it will be dismissed. A skilled attorney can assess your individual case and help you better understand filing dates and what your first steps should be. 

Due to the complex nature of product liability cases, it is important to work with a law firm that has prior experience with product liability lawsuits. Many product liability cases will require assessment and testimony from experts. An experienced product defect lawyer in Las Vegas, NV can review your individual case and help determine what experts are needed. 

Thanks to Eglet Adams for their insight into product liability law.