When To Sue For a Defective Product
When someone buys a product, and it turns out to be defective, they may consider looking into their legal options. However, as a rule of thumb, you can’t sue the manufacturer for the defect unless it caused an injury or loss to the owner or user, regardless of how dangerous the defect is. Let’s take a look at the product liability law for a better understanding.
Strict Liability Law
When a person encounters a defect in any purchased product, a “product liability” or “breach of warranty” lawsuit can be imposed. This allows one to be able to sue the manufacturer for the defect.
It’s important to understand that these cases aren’t based on the usual standard of “negligence” used in other personal injury cases, such as car accidents or medical malpractice. Instead, they are based on “strict liability.”
Typically, strict liability laws vary from state to state. However, to provide a general idea of when the manufacturer or seller is liable for a product liability lawsuit, there are two legal conditions necessary to engage in a lawsuit.
- The product involves a defect that is dangerous and can cause financial loss
- The defect causes an injury to a reasonably expected user of the product
As per the strict liability law, there is no reference to the seller’s carelessness or manufacturer linked to the product’s production. Instead, the evaluation is based on how dangerous the defective product is and whether someone was injured.
What Constitutes Damages?
According to US law, a plaintiff must prove that damage was caused by the defective product that can actually be compensated for, whether bodily or financially. For instance, let’s say you bought a washing machine and plugged it in the socket and put clothes in to be washed. While you were away, the washing machine sparked and burned down the wall, along with destroying the washing machine itself. In this case, you might not have been injured, but this defective product caused financial damage, which makes it a legitimate product liability claim.
Hence, If the washing machine costs $900 and the socket costs $2, and a wall repair expense of $150, the manufacturer’s legally compensable amount is $1,052. Not necessarily worth hiring a lawyer for.
On the other hand, if you were home when the washing machine went ablaze and the fire injured you or a loved one, then the liability would increase since it could include medical expenses, loss of work, and other non-economic factors such as pain and suffering.
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Regardless of how defective a product might be, it needs to actually cause harm in order to allow one to sue the manufacturer or company. Additionally, the money that can be recovered might only be a few hundred dollars. Recognize that product liability cases can be very costly to prosecute. Thus, it would be best if you only decide to push for legal compensation for claims only when there was a significant physical injury worth the money and time you and your attorney will need to invest in the case.