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Product Liability

Product liability or as some call it, products liability, refers to the responsibility for a defective product anywhere along the manufacturing chain.

 

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This manufacturing chain includes the components manufacturer, the assembler of the components, the wholesaler, distributor and retailer of the defect product. Since there is no federal product liability law that governs all states, the U. S. Department of Commerce has promoted the Model Uniform Products Liability Act (MUPLA), which many states follow.

Since some states do not follow this policy, it is important to find out the laws in your state governing product liability through a product liability attorney or through your own research.

In addition, not all products have to be tangible to be defective. Some can be intangibles such as gas, naturals such as pets, real estate or writings including instructions, charts and graphs.

Product liability usually falls into one of three different categories. Defective products may be tried under strict liability, negligence or breach of warranty. Defects can be in the product's design, manufacturing or marketing. A product may be deemed unreasonably dangerous because of an inherent design flaw before the manufacturing phase. Liability may also be assessed because of a problem in the manufacturing process that differed from the design. In addition, in the marketing phase, the product may be liable if improper or inadequate warnings or instructions are attached.

Strict Liability

Most products liability cases come under the heading of strict liability. With strict liability it does not matter if the manufacturer exercised great care in creating the product. What matters is that the product itself has been deemed defective and has caused injury. Negligence is not claimed in strict liability cases. Most strict liability cases focus on the manufacturing process rather than the design or marketing processes.

In strict liability cases it is assumed that the manufacturer of the product is the expert over the product and should know whether the product is dangerous or not. The consumer is not considered an expert in most cases and assumes less responsibility to know the dangers of products.


Negligence

Negligence in product liability cases, reflect the negligence standards in other personal injury cases. The plaintiff must proof that a relationship between the manufacturer and consumer has been established (and thus a duty is owed), the duty was breached, the breach of duty caused an injury to the consumer, the injury resulted in monetary damages.

Negligence may be found in all three categories of products liability cases. When it is found in the marketing phase, however, it is called Breach of Warranty. In the other two categories, negligence is defined as the failure to exercise due care that a reasonable and prudent person would exercise. Negligence is tried most often in defective product design cases and less often in product manufacturing cases.


Breach of Warranty

Breach of warranty is most often associated with a failure to warn consumers about the inherent dangers of a product or use of the product. Breach of warranty is considered by some to be a more specifically defined form of negligence. There are three typical categories for breach of warranty including breach of express warranty, breach of implied warranty of merchantability and breach of implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose.

Breach of express warranty means the manufacturer violated their own written guarantee. Breach of implied warranty means the defective product was reasonably understood to be free from defect and no disclaimers such as "as is" or "with faults" indicated otherwise. Breach of implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose means the seller knew the buyer's purpose and the buyer was relying on the seller's skill and judgment to fulfill that purpose.

These are the basics of products liability. Since product liability laws vary from state to state, it is important to research the laws in your particular state. Products liability lawyers specialize in this particular area of the law, so if you think you have a case, you'll want to seek help from a qualified attorney adept at knowing many various manufacturing processes and state law governing consumer protection.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 


 

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