defective-productPreviously we examined who’s responsible for injuries suffered in premises liability claims.  We again visit the topic of responsibility.  We do this to support our ongoing dedication to assist personal injury victims in understanding where responsibility for their injuries lies.  This time our attention is focused on defective product claims.

The Nuts and Bolts of a Defective Product Claim

Responsibility really can’t be determined unless we all have an equal understanding of what a defective product claim is.  Let’s get our feet firm by quickly visiting the topic.  If you receive injuries as a result of using a specific product, you may be able to file a suit for damages.  This particular lawsuit is known as a defective product liability claim.

Most of these claims are based on a general negligence standard.  This means that an injured party would base a defective product lawsuit on the assertions that:

  1. A manufacturer (or some other party as discussed below) was negligent in making a product;
  2. The product was defective;
  3. The defective product caused the claimant to receive injuries; and,
  4. These injuries resulted in recognizable harm or damages.

Defective product claims can also be based upon breach of warranty and strict liability theories.  This first basically asserts that a product did not perform as promised.  The second will support a lawsuit when a manufacturer places a defective product on the market and the product causes injury.

Responsibility for Defective Products

Placing blame in defective product liability cases normally involves something called the “chain of distribution.”  The chain of distribution simply refers to the path a product takes, and the parties involved, once the product is manufactured.  This chain typically starts with a manufacturer and ends with a retailer.  In between these two entities are various middlemen, that will usually differ depending on the product being manufactured.  As a general rule, a defective product suit will likely try to impose responsibility on all the parties involved in the distribution chain.

Let’s help clarify matters by taking a closer look at the parties within a chain of distribution.

  1. Manufacturers:  Manufacturers of defective products should be responsible for injuries caused by these products for obvious reasons.  A difficulty often lies in determining responsibility with complex products that incorporate parts manufactured by different business entities (e.g., cars, lawnmowers, grills, etc.).  Here, responsibility should be placed, at least in the early stages of a lawsuit, on both the manufacturer of the defective part and the manufacturer of the product that contains the defective part. 
  2. Retailers:  Granted, a retailer does not manufacture defective products that cause injury.  However, responsibility could very well be placed on a retailer for an injury incurred if the retailer was negligent is selling the defective product.
  3. Middlemen:  Depending on the specific product in question, the product’s chain of distribution could involve: wholesalers, suppliers, and distributors.  All of these parties are deemed middlemen linking a product from its manufacturer to its retailer; and, all could face responsibility for injuries sustained in a defective product case.

Other Considerations

Keep in mind that defective product liability claims can be quite complex.  For example, parties can still file these claims regardless as to if they: were the original “buyers” of the defective product; actually used the defective product themselves; or, sustained damages from a defective product that was used (i.e., not new).  In addition, the manufacturers, retailers and middlemen in some defective product claims that involve gigantic corporations and even foreign businesses.  All of these considerations can inject a series of complexities into an already convoluted area of the law.

At Phillips Law Firm, we have successfully handled numerous defective product cases in the past. Our main focus is on defective drugs but we have been involved with other types of products as well.  Many of these cases have included large-scale manufacturers, Fortune 500 companies, and a host of negligent middlemen.  Our attorneys effectively apply their extensive knowledge in the service of all of our clients, whether they’re in Seattle or anywhere in the United States. Fighting for the rights of injured people is just one step toward justice and the attorneys at Phillips Law Firm are committed to getting Justice For You.