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Who is Legally Responsible For Defective Products?

June 9, 2021 Product Liability

Any party involved in a defective product’s chain of distribution can be legally responsible if it causes harm. In most cases, the liability falls on the manufacturer and sometimes the retailer. Product liability is based on the principle that all consumers have a fundamental right to safe and effective products.

Therefore, victims who have been injured by defective products may be entitled to financial compensation for their medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and more.

Parties that May Be Liable for Defective Products 

There are many potentially liable parties, in addition to a manufacturer or seller, that play a role in a defective product’s chain of distribution. Those may include: 

  • Suppliers
  • Wholesalers
  • Distributors
  • Consultants
  • Contractors
  • Quality-control engineers
  • Designers
  • Other liable parties

The parties that can be named as defendants in a lawsuit when a defective product causes harm varies based on each case and the product involved. 

How Do I Know I Have a Case?

In product liability cases, the “burden of proof” usually falls on you as the consumer and the attorneys fighting for you. If your lawyer can show evidence that a product had a defect that caused your injury, and you were using the product in a reasonable, intended manner–then you likely have a case. 

Generally, there are three types of product liability cases


Defective Product Design

The product was designed in a manner that made it unsafe for consumers to use as intended. An error in the design of a product impacts every unit manufactured with that design. For example, a new tea kettle’s design causes hot water to spray from its spout, and it severely burns you. 


Defective Manufacturing

This involves a product that has a sound design but was manufactured in a way that puts consumers at risk of serious injury or death. The defect was not intended but could have happened due to a lack of oversight and cutting corners to reduce costs during the manufacturing process. For example, your new tea kettle has a hairline fracture that, in turn, causes it to explode and injure you. 


Failure To Provide Warnings or Instructions

Manufacturers must provide proper warnings and instructions for consumers about the dangers and risks of a product. If a product doesn’t have a warning sign or label or its instructions do not adequately convey the severity of a risk, it could be grounds to bring a claim. For example, new car tires don’t list on the tires or their manual that they have a maximum speed rating of 85 mph. As a result, your tire explodes at 90 mph, and you get into a car accident.


Speak to an Experienced Product Liability Lawyer

When you purchase a product, you should not have to worry that it will cause unexpected harm to you or your family. If you believe you have a product liability case, contact CaseyGerry. Our San Diego Product Liability Attorney will review your case and discuss your legal options in a free consultation.