Products liability is a legal claim that’s asserted when a manufacturer, seller, or other party has provided a defective product. People who were injured or harmed by the product, or suffered a loss because of it, have a valid legal claim against the manufacturer/seller.
Georgia law places responsibility on businesses to make sure that their products are safe to use. Generally speaking, a consumer should be able to use the product as directed without risking any injury or other kinds of damage. If the product is defective and causes harm, the manufacturer (in most cases) is legally liable for what happened.
If you or a loved one have been harmed by a defective product, you may be able to recover money — possibly far more than you expect. You should talk to a product liability lawyer.
What Counts as a Defective Product?
There are three ways a product can be considered defective:
- Marketing defects mean that a product was labeled in a way that led to dangerous use, or that the instructions were wrong or unclear. With a marketing defect, it’s possible that the product could have been safe if used a different way, but the way it was marketed or packaged led people to use it differently and get injured.
- Manufacturing defects mean that a product was produced in a flimsy, defective or unreliable way. The product might have been safe if it has been made properly, but because of the way it was made — usually by cutting corners to save cost — it would fail or break easily, and cause injury.
- Design defects mean that the product design itself is unsafe. In other words, even if it was manufactured correctly and marketed correctly, and even if people followed the directions to use it properly, the product was still likely to cause injury or harm.
In most cases, for a product to be defective, it has to cause some kind of damage. A product that simply breaks easily, or doesn’t work well, is unlikely to be grounds for a valid lawsuit. But if the way it failed or broke was also dangerous, then a products liability lawsuit would be possible.
The “damage” does not necessarily have to be an injury. For example; imagine a warehouse owner bought commercial refrigeration systems so that the warehouse could store meat. If the systems were defective, it may have caused the meat to spoil — possibly losing tens of thousands of dollars worth of product. That is a real form of damage, and one that the warehouse owner can sue for (even though no one was hurt).
How Do You Prove a Products Liability Claim?
The case is usually brought forward under state law, typically in the state where the injury happened. Federal law does not really address products liability, so the exact evidence needed to prove your claim will depend on state law.
In general, however, products liability cases are usually proven one of three ways:
- On the basis of negligence. This means that the manufacturer or seller was careless in how they designed, manufactured or marketed the product.
- Strict liability. This is a legal doctrine that allows consumers to recover damages without proving the manufacturer was negligent. Under strict liability, manufacturers are almost always liable for injuries caused by properly using their product. Sellers are not liable unless that type of product is a regular part of their business — for example; a farm equipment store might have strict liability for selling a brand new tractor that was faulty, but a farmer selling the same tractor second hand would not, because it’s not a core part of his business.
- Breach of warranty. If a warranty was provided for the product, you may have a case without having to prove negligence or strict liability. That’s because a warranty is basically a guarantee from the manufacturer that an item will work a certain way. here is a federal law, the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, which sets standards for warranties nationwide.
In the case of medical devices, drugs, and medical procedures, lawsuits can be much more complex and will involve other types of evidence as well. Our medical device recall lawyers can help you.
We Can Help You Prove Your Products Liability Claim
If you or a loved one were harmed by any kind of product, you may have a case. You could potentially recover money for the damaged property, medical bills, lost work time, long-term care or recuperation costs, and more. Let the experienced attorneys of John Foy & Associates help you. Fill out the form to your right, or call us at 404-400-4000 to get a FREE consultation today.