What to Know about your Products Liability Claim
Despite the extensive rules and regulations in place to prevent the distribution of defective products, they are still being released on the market. If you or a loved was injured by a defective product, product liability laws may help you gain compensation for your damages.
Product liability refers to a manufacturer or other party in the distribution chain being held liable for injuries caused by a defective product that was placed in the stream of commerce. Product liability laws are meant to hold manufacturers and sellers accountable for their dangerous products and allows those injured to seek monetary compensation for any injuries that are caused.
The statute of limitations is two years from the date of the injury. Under Arizona’s law, the clock doesn’t start ticking until you discover, or should have discovered, the injury or property damage.
Liability for an injury caused by a defective product applies not only to the manufacturer, but can extend to anyone in the chain of distribution. This includes manufacturers of parts and components of the defective product, the entity who installed or assembled the product (if applicable), and the retail entity that sold the product to the consumer.
In short, anyone involved in the production and/or distribution of the defective product within the normal course of business may be held liable.
Types of Defects
There are three different types of product defects:
Manufacturing Defects: This is when an issue arises during the manufacture or assembly of a product. Manufacturing defects occur when a batch of products are not made according to the required specifications, causing the product to be unsafe.
Design Defects: This occurs when there is an inherent flaw in the manufacturer’s design of the product. It is considered defective it is fails to perform as safely as an ordinary consumer would expect when used in a reasonably foreseeable way. This also occurs if the risks of the design outweigh the benefits.
Marketing Defect: These are defects in how the product is marketed, such as improper labeling, insufficient instructions, or inadequate safety warnings.
What is Liability
A product liability action in Arizona can be based on either negligence or strict liability. As the plaintiff, you are required to prove that the defendant manufactured or sold a defective product that was unreasonably dangerous. You also must prove that the product caused personal injury or property damage.
A product is considered defective and unreasonably dangerous because of a design defect if the harmful characteristics or consequences of its design outweigh the benefits of its design.
Negligence on the part of the manufacturer can include the failure to correct the design, failure to use the correct materials, failure to properly follow the manufacturing process, or failure to properly test the product prior to sending it into the stream of commerce.
A potential breach of warranty is another consideration to take in products liability cases. A warranty is essentially a promise made by the manufacturer when putting the product into the market for consumers.
Warranties can either be “express” or “implied.” An express warranty would be found in the wording used in marketing, packaging, or instructional materials. An implied warranty encompasses the reasonable expectations of an individual purchasing the product.
Defenses to Liability
There are two affirmative defenses to products liability recognized in Arizona:
- Misuse of product
- Assumption of risk
A defendant will not be held liable if the defendant can prove that the proximate cause of the incident that created harm was contrary to any express and adequate instructions or warnings appearing on, or attached to, the product (or its original container/wrapping). This is true if the intended consumer knew, or should have known, of such warnings and instructions.
5 Steps to Take
In order to file an effective product liability case, the injured party should take a number of specific actions that may be important to the case:
- Stop using the product immediately and preserve it
- If applicable, consult a physician about your injuries
- Retain all packing, manuals, and other materials supplied along with the defective product
- Gather contact information for any witnesses
- Consult with an experienced attorney
Contact Us Today
If you have been injured by a defective product, contact our law offices today. Our dedicated and experienced staff will work closely with you to determine the best approach to address your claim. Call (480) 502-0708 today for a free consultation!