Products liability is the area of law that covers defective products that cause property damage or personal injury to consumers.
A defective product is a product that has a design defect or a manufacturing defect. If a product lacks an adequate warning of any known dangers associated with its use, the product is also considered to be defective.
The manufacturer of a defective product is liable if the product injures a consumer. The store that sells the product, the distributor of the product, and any repairer of the product may also be responsible for any property damage or personal injury resulting from the defective product.
What damages can be recovered if a defective product causes an injury?
Damages mean a monetary award. An injured person can recover compensatory damages in products liability cases. Compensatory damages include medical and hospital expenses, lost wages, and an award for the pain and suffering associated with the injury. Courts can also award punitive damages to punish the manufacturer, seller, distributor or repairer for reckless or outrageous conduct. The spouse of an injured consumer can recover damages for loss of consortium/and or companionship due to the injury.
A claim based on strict products liability (liability without fault) requires proof that
1. the product was defective;
2. the consumer’s injury was caused by the defect; and
3. the product had not been substantially altered from its original condition
A claim based on negligence requires proof that
1. the manufacturer had a duty to provide a safe product;
2. the manufacturer breached its duty; and
3. the product caused the consumer’s injury.
A claim based on breach of warranty requires proof that
1. there was an express or implied warranty that the product was reasonably safe for its intended use;
2. the manufacturer breached the warranty; and
3. the consumer was injured by the product.