Product Liability Lawsuits

Product liability law is well established in US law.  While your case may be unique, there is a good chance other cases involving similar circumstances have been tried before.  This is a good thing because it means there are precedents we can use to establish the best way to win your case.

Below, we’ve provided a basic summary of what product liability is, including the most common types of claims, as well as information that may answer some of the questions you have.

To discuss your situation and if you may have a product liability case, call The Gallagher Law Firm at (713) 238-7705 or contact us online for a no-obligation consultation

Definition of Product Liability

According to Dictionary.com, product liability is:  (noun) the responsibility of a manufacturer for injury or loss caused by its product. 

According to the World Dictionary, product liability is:  (noun) the liability to the public of a manufacturer or trader for selling a faulty product. 

While both are correct, we feel the second is more complete because it mentions the liability of the “trader” (a reseller or distributor) who may also in some way be responsible for injuries caused by a defective product.

Types of Product Liability Claims

It is generally agreed there are 3 types of product liability claims. These are (in no particular order):

  • Manufacturing Defect
  • Design Defect
  • Failure to Sufficiently Instruct or Warn

Manufacturing Defect Claim for Product Liability

Manufacturing defects involve products that were designed properly but are dangerous because of a flaw in, or negligence during, the manufacturing process.  This type of defect does not always affect the entire product line and may only affect one specific production run. For example, imagine a batch of normal four-leg chairs that, because of a mistake during a single shift at the factory, was assembled without an important screw that strengthens one of the legs.

Design Defect Claim for Product Liability

Design defect claims involve products whose design is flawed. In this case, the entire product line is probably flawed. As an example, imagine a chemical fuel pipeline additive that appears to work during normal conditions because it was only tested outside during winter months. However, during summer months when temperatures are higher the additive causes the fuel mixture to turn into useless sludge costing the consumer thousands or millions of dollars. You might also imagine the chair mentioned above being designed without that screw that strengthens the legs.

Failure to Instruct or Warn Claim

Some products need special instructions or warnings for the average and reasonable user to safely or effectively use them. It is the manufacturer’s (and possibly seller’s) responsibility to inform the consumer about safe operation and/or warn the consumer about potential dangers or failures. “Reasonable” is important for this type of claim.  For example, everyone know that a knife can cut you so the manufacture is not expected to label each knife with a warning. However, everyone may not understand how to properly use a baby car seat so a manufacturer would be expected to clearly indicate proper use, warnings, and potential dangers.

Call the Gallagher Law Firm at (713) 238-7705 or contact us online for a no-obligation consultation about your product liability claim.

Who is Responsible for Product Liability

The responsibility for the damages or injuries caused by the product may lie with the manufacturer, a supplier, wholesaler, distributor, retailer, or a person or company that delivered or assembled the product (or some combination of these). This will be decided largely by determining the exact causes of the defect or negligence that directly attributed to the damages or injuries.

Other Information About Product Liability

For a claim to be considered, the person who was injured does not have to be the purchaser of the product.  However, for strict liability to apply, the sale must be made during the course of the seller’s normal business operations. With that in mind, the seller of an item you bought from a garage sale or from an individual on Ebay will probably not be held responsible for product liability issues.

Contact Us for Help

We are happy to help with your questions and discuss your claim to help you decide if your case is worth pursuing in courts.  Call the Gallagher Law Firm at (713) 238-7705 or click here to contact us online