3 Types of Product Liability Claim
Bill Allen | July 13, 2021 | Product Liability
When you purchase a product, you do not expect that product to cause you harm. You expect the product to work as advertised. Unfortunately, defective products cause catastrophic injuries and wrongful deaths.
If a defective product caused your injury or the death of a family member, you might be entitled to compensation for damages. By filing a product liability claim, you could recover compensation for your non-economic damages (pain and suffering) and economic damages (financial losses).
What Makes a Product Defective?
A defective product does not work the way it should work because of a flaw in its design, manufacturing, or marketing. The flaw results in a dangerous or hazardous condition that could result in injury or death.
Product liability refers to a party’s legal responsibility for damages caused by a defective product. Claims involving defective products may include negligence, strict liability, breach of warranty, or misrepresentation of facts. In many cases, a product liability case may involve multiple claims of wrongdoing.
Three Types of Product Liability Claims
Under strict liability laws, a party is responsible for damages caused by their defective product. Intent does not apply in these cases. The fact that the product is defective is sufficient to trigger liability for damages.
There are three types of product liability claims commonly used to seek compensation for injuries and damages:
1. Defects in the Design
Design defects result in a dangerous product. Here, something in the product’s design makes the product inherently hazardous. Because it is a design defect, all items produced will have the same defect — regardless of how the product is manufactured.
A defect in the design makes it risky for someone to use the product, and the product’s potential for causing injuries outweighs its potential benefits.
2. Defects in the Manufacturing Process
Mistakes and errors during the manufacturing process can make a product dangerous to use. For example, the manufacturer may change specifications or may use substandard materials. The result is a defective finished product.
With manufacturing defects, some of the products might be defective, but other products may not contain the defect. This situation often occurs when quality control errors cause defective batches of products.
3. Defects in Packaging or Marketing
Marketing defects occur when a product’s packaging doesn’t contain adequate warnings of the product’s risks. This is also known as a failure to warn claim.
Another problem might occur if there are insufficient instructions for the safe use of the product. In some cases, a product may contain false or misleading claims that could lead to an injury or death.
Who is Responsible for a Product Liability Claim?
There could be numerous parties who share liability for damages depending on the facts of the case.
Potential parties that could be responsible for a victim’s damages include:
- The designer of the product
- The product’s manufacturer
- Distributors and sellers
- Marketing companies
- The party who installed the product
- Parties responsible for manufacturing components used to make the product
Identifying why the product is defective is a critical step in determining who is responsible for damages.
For example, if the defect is in the product’s design, the designer may be solely responsible for the damages. However, if the claim involves a failure to warn issue, the manufacturer, distributor, and other parties could share the liability for a product liability claim.
What Damages Can You Recover for a Product Liability Claim?
The types of damages you can recover for a product liability claim depend on the facts of the case.
However, most victims are entitled to receive compensation for their:
- Medical treatment and care
- Person care and in-home health care
- Physical pain and suffering
- Loss of income and benefits
- Mental anguish and emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Permanent impairments and disabilities
- Decrease in quality of life
- Disfigurement and scarring
The value of the damages varies depending on the severity of the injuries and other factors.
What Should You Do if You Are Injured by a Defective Product?
Go to the emergency room or a doctor for treatment. Documenting your injuries is important. Delays in medical care could raise issues about causation.
Secure the defective product in a safe location and container. If the product is hazardous or could cause a fire or explosion, consult emergency responders or other professionals before sealing the product in a container. Keep all packaging and other items that came with the product.
Document your damages by keeping copies of all receipts, invoices, and evidence of financial losses. It can also help your case if you keep detailed notes about your recovery and how your injuries impact your daily life.
Don’t Wait Too Long to Begin the Process of Filing Your Claim
The deadline for filing claims in Florida related to product liability is generally four years from the date of injury. Wrongful death claims related to defective products generally have a two-year filing deadline.
However, there are exceptions to the general statute of limitations for product liability claims. For example, Florida’s statute of repose may bar product liability actions filed after a certain number of years. The bar date is based on the age of the product and the purchase date or manufacturing date.
The discovery rule could extend the statute of limitations based on the date you discover your injury. However, these dates may also be subject to the bar date under the statute of repose.
A product liability lawyer can review your case to determine the filing deadline for claims and lawsuits. Quick action can preserve your right to hold the negligent party liable for your injuries and damages.