FAQ: What is products liability?

by Tim O’Hare

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Every year, thousands of recalls are issued on products, from vehicles to food to household items, because those items are defective or contaminated and are a potential harm to consumers. Manufacturers have a responsibility to uphold the integrity of their products, and to inform the public if they are at risk of injury, illness or even death due to a defective product.

In the legal world, this responsibility is called “products liability,” and manufacturers are responsible to compensate for injury caused by defective merchandise. Consumers who are injured by a defective product can file a legal claim against the manufacturer of that product. Common products liability cases include injury due to defective tires, SUV rollovers, negligent vehicle maintenance, flammable products, design defects, failure to warn, and improper product instructions.

Manufacturing defects occur during manufacturing, rendering that product dangerous or useless. Design defects occur the product design stage, and render the product dangerous or useless regardless of how well it is manufactured. Failure to warn refers to the manufacturer’s responsibility to warn consumers of non-obvious dangers associated with use of that particular product.

Texas law allows individuals who suffer injury or loss to do a defective product to take legal action for compensation against the supplier of products supplied after July 9, 1992. Anyone can claim for personal injury or damage to private property resulting from a defective product, and dependants of a person injured or killed can also claim losses.

There are cases where a manufacturer may not be liable for a defective product, including instances where:

  • The defect was not the manufacturer’s fault.
  • The product was a component of a finished product, and the defect is attributed to the finished product, in which case the manufacturer of the finished product not the component would be liable.
  • The defect could not have been discovered at the time the product was supplied.
  • The defect was the result of the manufacturer’s compliance with a mandatory Commonwealth or State standard.

As a consumer, you have the right to be warned of dangers associated with specific products, and should expect to be safe when using products you purchase. If you or a loved one has been injured or even killed as a result of a defective product, the experienced legal team at The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare will guide you through your case and ensure you get everything you deserve.

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