What Exactly is Product Liability?

September 1st, 2022

Legal terminology can be confusing if you haven’t been to law school. After an injury, you can be stuck looking at terms, wondering what exactly your case counts as. For instance, does your injury count as product liability?

This will depend on the product and circumstances. An Austin product liability lawyer explains what it is and what defects count.

What does Product Liability Mean?

To put it simply, product liability is holding companies accountable for their products. If a product they make or market causes injury or death, the company needs to be held accountable. A faulty car part can cause an accident that can injure or kill many people. Unsafe medications can result in hospitalizations and huge medical bills for the victims. Poor instructions can make an otherwise safe product a hazard. Since the stakes are so high, product liability laws exist to protect consumers.

Product liability laws are a bit different than other injury laws. It is often easier for the plaintiff to prove product liability compared to other personal injury lawsuits. Every step of the supply chain can be held accountable for a faulty product. The simplest explanation is that products need to meet the ordinary expectations of the consumer. If there are unexpected faults or dangers, then it does not meet ordinary expectations. For instance, if you buy a bicycle you would reasonably expect that it can handle riding down an average bike path. However, you can’t predict that the frame had a defect and the top tube sheered in half, causing you to fall and be injured. 

One thing to note is that the exact laws will depend on the state. There is no federal law on product liability. There are laws that determine what counts as product liability. It also affects what you need to do if you bring a product liability lawsuit. An Austin product liability lawyer can help you make a stronger case.

Who is Responsible for Defective Products?

Who is responsible will depend on the exact case. In our earlier example, it would be a wide range of parties up the supply chain.

  • The manufacturer of the product
  • The manufacturer of the components used to make the product
  • The party that assembles or installs the product
  • The wholesaler that supplied the product
  • The retailer that sold the product to the consumer

Knowing the responsible parties is important for a successful case. Many product liability cases are thrown out when the defendant claims that the plaintiff did not sufficently identify the supplier. You will need to take the time to discover who is actually at fault and cover all your bases. 

Types of Defects

There are three types of defects typically covered. 

  • Design Defects. Design defects are faults that happen before manufacturing even begins. For instance, the walls of the bike frame are made too thin for the material used.
  • Manufacturing Defects. These defects happen at the manufacturing or assembly stage. For instance, bolts weren’t properly tightened or the material used had faults.
  • Marketing Defects. These defects occur because of marketing mistakes. The product may have been mislabeled. The instructions may have been insufficient or the safety warnings were not present. 

How to File a Product Liability Lawsuit

If you have been injured by a product, a lawsuit can help you recover from the damages it caused. This can include economic losses like lost wages, medical bills, or property damage. It can also include non-economic losses like mental anguish, permanent disfigurement, and pain and suffering. In cases of blatant disregard for the safety of the consumers of a product, you may also receive punitive damages. This is harder to prove, and you will need a good attorney on your side.

Contact a Product Liability Attorney in Austin

Trying to make a case on your own would be difficult. You need someone on your side. Ramos James Law, PLLC is here for you. We have experience in product liability cases. We can get you the results you are entitled to. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to make a case.

If you or a loved one have been injured or killed by a faulty product, we’re here for you. We offer free consultations, so you can find out what to expect at no cost to you.

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2800 S I-35 Frontage Rd, Suite 265 Austin, TX, 78704


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