Product Liability: What it Means For Your Business

Product Liability

Product liability is a bit talking point in the US for businesses. According to US law, if a customer is injured by a product or using a product, they may pursue a claim against the business owner for damages.

It’s not just business owners though, in the USA, claims can be taken against anyone in the supply chain of that product if there is reasonable cause for concern and responsibility needs to be taken for an injury caused.

If you sell any products as part of your business, even if it’s product parts to another business to make products, you could be held responsible if a user is injured.

What Could You Be Liable For?

There are three main areas that a judge will look at when it comes to a liability claim, and professionals like Brown and Crouppen Law Firm will be able to put a case together that could quite possibly span all three areas to make a claim stronger.

Negligence

Negligence comes under the definition of ‘reasonable care’. Did everyone in the supply chain take reasonable care while manufacturing the parts of the product (or sourcing the parts for the product) to ensure that the part or product is safe? A risk assessment and paper trail of trials is important here.

Breach of Warranty

A breach of warranty is fairly straightforward. The injured party would need to claim that the defective product breached the expected (or promised) usability warranty. The product wasn’t fit for the purpose in which it was sold.

Strict Liability

Strict liability is similar to negligence in that the injured party must prove that the product was defective, but the difference here is that they must prove the product was unreasonably dangerously defective.

Examples of Product Liability Issues

Throughout history, there have been many examples of products that were sold to consumers that ended up in damages and injuries, and the issues have been traced back through the supply chain.

One particularly famous and sad case was Victorian baby feeding bottles that received the nickname “Murder Bottles” because of their high infant mortality associations in the late 1800s.

The bottle’s design, a glass bottle with a porous rubber tube and nipple for the baby to drink from, and the advice given by leading ‘experts’ of the time meant that there was no way to ensure that the infant bottles were sterile.

This deadly design led to the bottled becoming a breeding ground for bacteria and causing devastating food poisoning cases that killed many infants.

Liability, in this case, was down to both the manufacturer and the advice of the product sellers not to clean the bottles properly (although we now know there was no way to thoroughly clean them due to their porous material).

Thankfully cases such as that are quite rare these days, but there are still plenty of products on the market that have defective parts that will be deadly for some users, and it’s up to everyone in the supply chain to make sure these parts are not dangerous.

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