When a product has a defect, it puts consumers and anyone who uses the product in danger. Should a person get hurt using a defective product, they may want to pursue a product liability claim. But knowing who is liable for a defective product may be more complicated than people think.
To determine liability for a defective product, parties must consider a few critical factors.
What type of defect is it?
There are three ways a product can be defective in the eyes of the law:
- Defective in its design
- Deficient in how it’s made
- Defective in how it is sold
A design defect means that a product was inherently unsafe because of a design flaw. A manufacturing defect means a product is dangerous because it was made improperly or using substandard materials. And a product can be defective in how parties sell it if it does not contain proper warnings for using the item.
Liability will depend on what type of defect it is. In other words, the manufacturer may not be liable if the product design was defective.
Where did you get the product?
A retailer can be liable for damages if they sell defective products. However, these cases can be complicated, as retailers may not know about defects.
One recent case against retail giant Amazon illustrates how difficult it can be to hold sellers of third-party products liable. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission filed a federal lawsuit against Amazon, claiming it should be responsible for selling defective products.
Amazon has countered by saying they have removed defective products they know about. They say they haven’t received enough information from the CPSC to remove them and, therefore, should not be liable for damages.
Where did the accident occur?
State laws regarding product liability law vary widely. For instance, in some states, retailers cannot be sued as a manufacturer. And the amount of time that injured parties have to file a claim after an accident varies by state, as well.
Based on these factors, it can be easier to determine who is liable for any damages a person experiences due to a defective product. And working with an attorney can help you solidify your claim and hold all the appropriate parties accountable.