Attorney Keith Spencer discusses legal liability grounded on defective products.
Product liability is the legal responsibility of manufacturers and sellers to buyers, users, and bystanders for damages or injuries suffered because of defects in goods. Product liability can occur at any point along the chain of production and distribution. In turn, that means that the manufacturer, wholesaler, and retailer can all possibly be held responsible for injuries caused by a product. Injury-causing defects include design, manufacturing, or marketing defects. A design defect is a flaw in a product’s design which makes the product inherently dangerous. Manufacturing defects are flaws in the manufacturing process that cause the product to be defective. Marketing defects occur when a product lacks the appropriate warnings or instructions for proper use. There are several types of product liability cases. In a strict liability case, a plaintiff is allowed to fully recover for an injury caused by a product without having to prove any misconduct by the defendant. The plaintiff must only prove that the injury was caused by a defective product manufactured or sold by the defendant. This is the most common of all product-liability cases, and it deals with inherently dangerous products. A breach-of-warranty liability case occurs when there is a negligent failure by the defendant to warn the plaintiff of the dangers of the product. Types of breaches of warranty include breach of a seller’s express warranty (what he promised), breaches of implied warranty, which are warranties that are implied by the law, and the breach of a warranty of fitness of a product for a particular purpose. In this case, the defendant knew of the intended use of the product by the buyer, who relied on the knowledge of the product by the defendant who displayed or told the buyer that the product could be used safely in the manner intended by the buyer. The plaintiff must establish negligence, which is determined when a relationship exists between the manufacturer and the plaintiff, and that the manufacturer owed the plaintiff a duty of care or a breach of the duty of care, or if a relationship caused the injury to the plaintiff. It is more difficult for a plaintiff to recover under a theory of negligence.