Products Liability: Liability for Injury Caused by Defective Product

PRODUCTS LIABILITY: LIABILITY FOR INJURY CAUSED BY DEFECTIVE PRODUCT

Every year, many persons suffer injury resulting from dangerous and defective products. The area of law that deals with liability for injuries caused by defects in such products is called “products liability.” The following is an overview of products liability.

Under products liability, anyone in a product’s chain of distribution may be held liable for injuries caused by a defective product. This would include the manufacturer, wholesaler, retail seller, and assembler/ installer of a product. For liability to attach, the product must have been “sold” at one point in time. Historically, this meant a contractual relationship had to exist between the supplier and the injured person. In recent times, however, the connection required for liability of the manufacturer/supplier has been relaxed to allow for persons who are foreseeable users of a product to recover for injuries. So long as the person injured is someone that a reasonable person could foresee as a user of the product, he/she may recover.

Products liability claims are often brought under theories of strict liability, negligence, and breach of warranty. A products liability action may also be based on fraud in certain circumstances. Under any theory, to recover for injuries, one must show that the product was defective, and such defect made the product unreasonably dangerous. Defects can be shown to exist in a product’s design, manufacturing, and marketing. A design defect exists where something in the product’s design makes it unreasonably dangerous. A manufacturing defect exists where the product made does not conform to the design or manufacturing specifications. With a manufacturing defect, the issue is not with a product’s design, but with how the product was manufactured. A marketing defect may be found where labeling is improper, instructions are insufficient, or warnings of a product’s dangers are not given.

The purpose of products liability is to insure that the costs of injuries resulting from defective products are borne by those parties that are more able to bear such costs—i.e. those in the chain of distribution, as opposed to the consumer. Those in the distribution chain are better able to bear such costs in that they can obtain insurance and can distribute the costs among the public as a cost of doing business. Furthermore, those in the distribution chain are in a better position to discover and guard against defects and warn of dangers.

It is important to note that time limitations exist to file a products liability action. For those that have been injured by a defective product, it is important to consult an attorney as soon as possible to determine whether an actionable claim exists

Please note that this article is not legal advice and is not intended as legal advice. The article is intended to provide only general, non-specific legal information. This article is not intended to cover all the issues related to the topic discussed. The specific facts that apply to your matter may make the outcome different than would be anticipated by you. This article does not create any attorney-client relationship between you and the Law Offices of Kenneth U. Reyes, P.C. This article is not a solicitation.

Attorney Kenneth Ursua Reyes was President of the Philippine American Bar Association for 2005. He is a member of both the Family law section and Immigration law section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association. Mr. Reyes is a Certified Family Law Specialist. He is a graduate of Southwestern University Law School in Los Angeles and California State University, San Bernardino School of Business Administration. He has extensive CPA experience prior to law practice. LAW OFFICES OF KENNETH REYES, P.C. is located at 3699 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 700, Los Angeles, CA, 90010. Tel. (213) 388-1611 or e-mail kureyeslaw@gmail.com; visit at www.kenreyeslaw.com

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