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“Product liability” generally refers to a legal claim or lawsuit in which someone alleges that a product malfunctioned, failed to work properly, or was too dangerous and as a result, caused one or more persons to suffer bodily injury or death.
In a product liability lawsuit, the plaintiff seeks to hold the designer, manufacturer, distributor and/or seller of the defective product legally liable for damages arising from the injuries or death caused by that unsafe product. As a general rule, laws governing product liability cover personal property not land, real estate or improvements to real property. Examples of “personal property” governed by product liability laws include all types of consumer goods such as tools, appliances, toys, furniture, firearms, sporting gear, and motor vehicles.
Product liability claims can also involve all types of industrial, construction or farming machinery or equipment. In addition, raw or prepared food items, beverages, prescription drugs, over-the-counter medicine, and medical devices can also be the subject of product liability lawsuits. Almost anything which is manufactured or produced and then placed in the stream of commerce for purchase or consumption by the public can be the subject of product liability litigation.
Each state has their own laws governing product liability. There is no uniform federal product liability law. Therefore, product liability laws are not entirely the same in each state. Some states, like Georgia, have enacted statutes which govern product liability lawsuits. In other states, product liability laws are entirely derived from appellate court decisions.
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Those that can be responsible in product liability lawsuits can include:
Manufacturer of Component Parts
While many people think that product liability only involves products that a person can buy at a store,
Product liability can also include:
Intangibles (gas, electricity, etc.)
Product liability claims are very complex and can be very confusing if you do not have the necessary experience. Not only are there multiple parties that can be held liable for your injuries, but there are also a variety of different types of product liability claims.
When it comes to determining the specific type of product liability involved, there are three basic options:
Strict Liability – It does not matter how careful you are, the mere fact that the product is defective holds the other party liable for your injuries.
Negligence – One or more parties in the manufacturing chain was negligent and caused the product to be defective, which resulted in your injuries.
Breach of Warranty – Either written or expressed verbally, in advertising or in person, a warranty tells you that the product should be safe for its intended use. If the product is defective, the warranty is breached and another party can be held liable for your injuries.
In addition to all these various product liability factors, each state has different rules and regulations regarding the type of product liability claim you are able to file. However, all product liability claims must show that the product was defective for one reason or another.
There are several different types of product defects:
Design Defects – Before the product is even made, the design causes the product to be defective.
Manufacturing Defects – defects occur while the product is being created. Often times, this only causes a couple products to be defective, rather than every product created.
Marketing Defect – A marketing defect is a defect in the directions or warnings of dangers or uses. This can include a missing line in the instructions or even a typo.
Due to the complexity of a product liability claim, it is important that you contact an experienced Georgia product liability lawyer if you are filing a product liability claim. A product liability lawyer will inform you of the rules and regulations regarding Product Liability in your area.