Designers and manufacturers are responsible for ensuring that their products are safe for people to use. Various products can be dangerously defective, such as car airbags or cell phone batteries, and cause severe injuries to consumers.
If a defective product causes you to become injured, and you plan on filing a lawsuit to recover damages for your injuries, you must identify the liable parties and name all of them as defendants. Depending on the type of product you are using, it may be complicated to identify all of the parties responsible for your injuries. Regardless, it is essential to find as many of your potential defendants as possible, as this will increase the likelihood of you receiving a complete settlement for your injuries.
Product Liability Basics
When victims become injured due to a defective product, the courts will categorize this type of case as a breach of warranty, product liability, or negligence. Due to negligence, the seller, distributor, or manufacturer’s actions are taken into consideration. The product itself is taken into consideration in a product liability case. Breach of warranty cases applies to situations where products are supposed to perform or live up to a particular standard but fail instead. Many unique elements must be proven, regardless of which type of case you have.
The following elements must be proven in court whenever negligence is involved:
- The product was used for the purpose it was intended
- The defective product caused the user to become injured
- The product the consumer purchased was already defective to begin with
- You or someone you love sustained injuries or died
Retailers, wholesalers, and manufacturers are required to sell products that work and meet specific quality standards.
Breach of Warranty Cases
Consumers can hold a company responsible for breaching an express or implied warranty, in addition to filing a lawsuit against the manufacturer for a defective product. Express warranties, by definition, are protections that are stated or written, and often come with several kinds of products. Many of these protections offer repair or replacement services for a specific period of time.
Implied warranties require goods to pass specific sellable criteria and apply them to every product. If the products are not appropriately packaged, fit to use, or of reasonable quality, the seller may be held responsible for any injuries, product issues, or defects.
If a physical injury was sustained in a breach of warranty case, it could strengthen a defective product lawsuit. The plaintiff will need to show that the expectations outlined in an expressed or implied warranty failed to meet the product’s expectations.
You need to include all of the parties that were involved in the distribution chain of the product. A distribution chain is a path a product takes from manufacture to distribution. The following overview explains the different types of entities involved in the distribution chain of any given product. Depending on the category, there may be more than one possible defendant.
Manufacturers – The product manufacturer is at the beginning of the distribution chain. They may be a large multinational company or a single individual who owns their own small business.
If a part inside the product is defective, the part manufacturer and the manufacturer of the product containing the defective part should be included as defendants. For instance, if an exploding battery caused a car accident, a defective product liability claim would be brought against the battery manufacturer and the car manufacturer, including any other distribution chain participants.
Retailers- Even if the store you purchased the product from didn’t have anything to do with its design or manufacturing, they could still be held responsible for your injuries. This policy applies to brick-and-mortar and online stores. You should keep in mind that if you purchased a defective third-party product through an online store like Amazon, they might attempt to circumvent your lawsuit. Amazon has an indemnification clause with third-party vendors that grants them legal protection by obligating the vendor to cover any costs or liability issues associated with the products they sell.
Distributor/Wholesaler – Numerous intermediaries, including distributors, suppliers, and wholesalers, are between the manufacturer and retailer of the defective product. All of them are part of the distribution chain and should be included as defendants in your defective product case because they are potentially liable for your injuries.
Marketing Consultants and Companies – Defects can sometimes show up during the design and marketing process. Incomplete instructions, inadequate safety warnings, and improper labeling are all examples of marketing defects. Before products can be sold on the market, marketers must consider the type of instructions a customer will need to safely and correctly use an item. Additionally, marketers will need to include a list of ways the product can’t be used, including possible hazards. Most large companies have a marketing team, while other businesses tend to use third-party consultants and contractors. Technical advisors, quality control experts, design engineers, and other parties may be held liable under this precedent.
Are You Looking to Sue a Negligent Manufacturer?
The Eichholz Law Firm has years of experience handling product liability cases and getting injured plaintiffs the compensation they deserve. Our legal team is committed to helping victims of defective devices hold the responsible parties liable for their dangerous products.
Contact us for more information on how to take legal action.