Product Liability Suit
Product liability suit is a legal action brought against a business accused of placing a defective or unreasonably dangerous product on the market. In most cases, the plaintiff claims to have been harmed by a product made or sold by the defendant. Product liability may be based on manufacturing or design flaws, or on informational defects. Informational defects include inadequate warnings or instructions for use. Product liability is usually limited to products sold or leased as new.
To win a product liability suit, the plaintiff generally must prove that a product’s defective or unreasonably dangerous condition caused personal injury, death, or property damage. If a suit is successful, the plaintiff may receive payment for medical expenses, lost earnings, pain and suffering, disability, disfigurement (damaged appearance), or property damage. Many companies carry insurance to protect against product liability suits.
In the United States, liability for defective products may be based on (1) strict liability, (2) negligence, or (3) breach of warranty. A court can impose strict liability on a company if it manufactured or distributed a product that was defective when it left the company’s control. In some cases, the plaintiff does not have to prove that the defendant knew or should have known about the defect.
Negligence, in product liability suits, means the defendant carelessly caused the defect or failed to discover it. The plaintiff’s own negligence or other fault may reduce or eliminate the defendant’s liability.
Breach of warranty means that the product was sold with a defect that violated existing quality or safety provisions. In the United States, breach of warranty claims are based on the Uniform Commercial Code. This code, a body of laws governing the buying and selling of goods, has been adopted in whole or part by all the states.
Product liability rules are established almost entirely by the states. Although such laws are similar throughout the United States, there is some variation from state to state.