Laws governing civil liability for defective products vary from state to state, and depending on whether the damage from the defective product is occasioned in the form of physical injuries or economic injuries. The term “products liability” expresses the concept that a remote user of a product (e.g. an individual consumer) can recover in damages for injuries that are occasioned by a product that is not reasonably safe vis-a-vis the design and safety standards that are commonly accepted in the particular industrial sector that the product falls into, as well as particular safety standards that may exist embodied in local, state, or federal codes. Such recovery can come about where the remote user has no contractual (e.g. purchase) relationship with the manufacturer, designer, or distributor of the product.
Defective products fall into several categories. They can be defective in their manufacture, defective in their design, defective in their failure to provide reasonable or adequate warnings, defective in failing to comply with the promises of performance associated with use of the product (i.e. express or implied “warranties”) or all or a combination of the foregoing. Many times, defects are not obvious to the end user, who may have little or no experience with the function of the product, though they could or should have been known to the manufacturer, designer, and distributor, who have the benefit of having had design and testing experience, as well as real-life use feedback from consumers over a period of time that may show patterns of product failure. Manufacturers and distributors often, for obvious reasons, seek to keep a tight lid on evidence of prior product failures, notices and complaints of such failures, and settlements of such claims.
At RAS ASSOCIATES, PLLC, we have had the privilege of handling various types of product liability matters for past clients, dealing with a wide variety of matters involving products as diverse as blenders, trailers, aircraft, industrial machinery, and power tools. We are here to help investigate and analyze your situation.