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Defective Product / Product Liability FAQ

What is product liability law?

Products liability law is based on the responsibility of a manufacturer or other provider of goods to compensate users of the goods for injuries caused by defective or dangerous products. The basic idea underlying products liability law is that the companies providing the products are usually in the best position to prevent defective products from entering the marketplace, so if they fail to do so, they should be held accountable.

What are some of the different types of product defects?

Product defects cover a wide range of topics. What causes a product to be defective? In general, there are three types of flaws that may make a product defective:

1. Manufacturing defect

The product was designed properly, but the defect came about through the manufacturing process.

2. Design defect

The product was essentially flawed because of its design.

3. Failure to warn about defective products

When a product, although otherwise safe, causes an injury due to the manufacturer’s failure to warn of a particular danger associated with the use of the product.

Who is liable if I am injured or damaged by a defective product?

The chain of distribution is typically made up of the manufacturer, the retailer, and any number of suppliers, wholesalers, and distributors in between. Depending on your case, the defendants may also include consultants, contractors, quality-control engineers, designers, and anyone else with some sort of connection to the defect in the injury-causing product.

What kind of compensation can I ask for in my defective product liability claim?

All damages fall into two basic categories: compensatory damages and punitive damages. Compensatory damages are intended to restore you to the condition you were in before the injury occurred by attaching a dollar value to each of the bad things that happened to you as a result of the injury. These damages include “economic” losses such as medical expenses, lost wages or profits, and any damage to your property. They also include certain “non-economic” losses, such as pain and suffering. In many cases, compensatory damages are the only form of damages awarded.