Companies in all types of industries operate under the general premise that they have an obligation to protect consumers from potential hazards. Whether those hazards come from toys, pharmaceuticals, vehicles, foods, or other consumer products, companies must do their due diligence to protect individuals from dangerous and defective products of all kinds.
Unfortunately, these types of instances still happen every single day. From mobile phones exploding to vehicles having faulty equipment, you probably hear about these types of dangerous and defective products on the news on a fairly regular basis. While we never want to see or hear about an individual being harmed from these types of products, the good news is that injured consumers do have the ability to recover damages. This is where product liability law comes into play.
Who is held responsible for product liability?
Pretty much anything that an individual purchases or uses can be a cause for product liability.
While a federal product liability law does not exist, these types of claims are typically subject to state laws. Additionally, product liability claims will most often be classified by one of the following three theories:
Negligence – Negligence occurs when an individual or company acts in a careless manner, which results in someone else being injured.
Strict liability – Strict liability can hold a business that sold or rented a particular product accountable for the injury that occurred, but only if that businesses sells or rents those types of products on a regular basis. For instance, if you purchased a faulty or harmful product at a thrift store or garage sale, strict liability will likely not apply to the seller.
Breach of warranty – The purchase of nearly any product comes with a guarantee from the seller that the product will meet a certain standard of reliability and quality. If the product does not meet these standards or is defective in any way, consumers have the ability to hold the seller accountable. This accountability could come in the form of replacing the product, fixing it for free, or refunding the purchase amount.
As you can tell, determining who is liable for dangerous and defective products can be a tricky area to navigate. Some products have defective designs, others are defectively manufactured, and there are other products that fail to provide adequate warnings or instructions. Depending on the type of product and where it was sold, liability for the defect could be attributed to the product manufacturer, the company responsible for manufacturing certain components, individuals who assemble or install the product, wholesalers, and/or retailers.
Who do you sue for product liability?
Before you can determine who to sue for product liability, you must first be able to determine who is liable for the faulty product. An experienced product liability attorney can guide you through this process. Once your lawyer has established your case and concluded who should be held accountable, you can then begin the process of filing a lawsuit to receive financial compensation for your damages.
But don’t sit around on your case for too long. In the state of Pennsylvania, there is a two-year statute of limitations. This means that you have two years from the date of injury to take legal action. If you wait beyond that time limit, you no longer have any legal grounds when it comes to suing for product liability in regards to a dangerous or defective product.
When listing the defendants in your case, you want to identify all of the parties who played a part in your injury. This includes all of the parties in the chain of distribution – everyone from the manufacturer to the retailer. This is where the legal doctrine of “joint and several” liability plays an important role. Essentially, this means that each defendant is liable for the damages, both together and separately. Then if one of the defendants is unable to pay the amount you are awarded, the others will have to cover the designated amount.
Product liability is a complex area of law, and there are many intricacies involved in establishing who is responsible for the dangerous and defective products that cause injury to consumers. Fortunately, you do not have to go through this process alone.
The experienced product liability lawyers at Ross Feller Casey have a proven record of winning major, multi-million-dollar verdicts and settlements in cases involving defective and dangerous products. Call today for a free case evaluation.
Disclaimer: Ross Feller Casey, LLP provides legal advice only after an attorney-client relationship is formed. Our website is an introduction to the firm and does not create a relationship between our attorneys and clients. An attorney-client relationship is formed only after a written agreement is signed by the client and the firm. Because every case is unique, the description of awards and summary of cases successfully handled are not intended to imply or guarantee that same success in other cases. Ross Feller Casey, LLP represents catastrophically injured persons and their families in injury and wrongful death cases, providing legal representation in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.