Who is Responsible When a Product Injures Someone?
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of George E. McLaughlin with McLaughlin Law Firm.
Defective and dangerous products can cause serious injuries and undue suffering to injury victims and their families. Adding to the stress of a product injury is the fact that product liability claims are notoriously difficult to pursue without the help of an experienced product liability attorney.
When a product causes injury or illness, one or more parties may be liable for the resulting damages; however, tracking down these parties, investigating their involvement, and proving that liability typically requires the help of an experienced attorney who knows exactly who to pursue and how to apply the necessary pressure.
Parties that may be responsible in the event of a product-related injury include:
- Product designer: Depending on the product in question, the designer will likely be required to follow a certain set of industry-wide standards regarding the product’s overall design and usability. If a product is unsafe or ineffective due to a defect in the product’s design rather than something that occurred in the manufacturing process, the product designer may be considered liable for resulting damages.
- Product manufacturer: A myriad of defects may occur in the manufacturing process which can make an otherwise safe product unsuitable for use. For example, using the wrong screws, assembling a product incorrectly, or even cracking parts of the product during manufacturing can significantly affect the item’s intended use and safety features.
- Parts manufacturer: Some products may use parts designed and manufactured by other facilities; when a parts manufacturer supplies faulty or inadequate parts to the final manufacturer, and a defect occurs due to a failure of those parts, the manufacturer of the parts may be considered liable for resulting damages.
- Retailers: Contrary to popular belief, retailers are not typically responsible for product injuries; however, if a recall was issued for a potentially dangerous product and a retailer did not immediately remove it from its shelves or if it sold the product without adequate warning to its customers, the retailer could also be considered liable.
- Employers: Some industries may require workers to use certain types of equipment, machinery, or products in the scope of their daily tasks. When this is the case, it is largely up to the employer to repair or replace broken or defective equipment. If an injury occurs due to a product that the employer should reasonably have replaced already, the employer may be considered liable for resulting damages.
In some cases, more than one party could be liable; in these situations, the product liability investigation must encompass all parties and determine how much of a role these parties played in the injury.
Defective products can vary widely but should always be taken seriously.
Commonly defective products may include car parts, pharmaceuticals, children’s toys, kitchen appliances, and more. Product liability attorneys can investigate any potentially defective product to determine who should be held responsible for the injured party’s damages. To allow product injury victims and their families to focus on healing and recovery, these attorneys typically offer free consultations and work on a contingency fee basis, which means clients only pay if they win. In a successful product liability lawsuit, the victim may be awarded compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
If you have suffered from a dangerous or defective product of some kind, reach out to a product liability attorney to discuss your options for recovery.