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Product liability law focuses on the legal guidelines around who is responsible for defective products: the user, the seller, or the manufacturer. Allowing a defective item on the market can cause injury and increase the risk of danger, and everyone in the distribution chain carries weight. As a market consumer, you rely on retailers and manufacturers to provide safe, tested, and working products from shampoo to children’s toys to chainsaws. When those products cause personal injury because of false advertising claims, lack of instructions, product assembly or a defect in their manufacturing, the consumer can sustain damages ranging from mild economic loss to severe physical injury or death.
Product liability cases can cost you or your loved ones a great deal. If you believe you are not responsible for defective product issues or have questions about your experience with defective products, call our Canton product liability attorneys at (330) 488-1234 or contact us via our online contact form to schedule a free initial consultation.
Incidence of Product Liability Cases
On average, Ohio’s State Supreme Court litigates over 250 product liability cases per year. Common situations which might bring cause for product liability suits include:
- Unstable or poorly assembled furniture that tips onto someone or breaks under their reasonable use
- Toys with small pieces that are choking hazards
- Asbestos exposure from construction material
- False claims or labeling on food and drugs
- Electrical appliances that cause fire
- Faulty car parts, particularly malfunctioning airbags
- Toxic substances in consumer products such as shampoo or toothpaste
Categories of Product Liability
Product liability law is under the authority of state law, and most often fall into one of three general categories:
- Negligence: Typically on the part of the manufacturer/assembler, but also potentially the retailer
- Strict Liability: When the product defect is directly attributed to the manufacturer or initial retailer. This would not include a second-hand consumer transaction but would allow an injured consumer to sue the manufacturer or seller without having to prove negligence.
- Breach of Warranty: Includes the implied warranty, which guarantees expectations of safety on items like a TV, which should not be flammable under normal use, as well as explicit warranty laid out by the manufacturer or seller.
The Uniform Commercial Code, which contains warranty rules, may also apply to product liability claims. Ohio’s product liability statute lays out a swath of situational laws and guidelines for pursuing defective product cases.
Responsible Parties for Product Liability
Parties potentially responsible for injuries related to marketed defective products include:
- The product manufacturer
- The parts manufacturer
- The assembler
- The wholesaler
- The retailer
Although a product may adhere to design specifications and standards, there may be defects due to inadvertent negligence or other issues. Even if a case falls under strict liability, it’s important to know that if a consumer continues to use a product that has been recalled for safety and hazard issues, strict liability will not apply.
Typically, under a strict liability case, the only evidence you need is proof of injury and proof of the product’s defect. At this point, the burden of proof now lies on the manufacturer to prove there was no defect.
Additionally, the statute of limitations on personal injury and property damage, or loss, in Ohio is two years, meaning there is a limited time available from your time of incident in which you can open a product liability claim.
Common Types of Product Defects
The following reasons for defective products are often linked to the manufacturer or retailer in some fashion and can be grounds for a product liability suit.
- Defective design: Something in the design that makes it inherently unsafe or abnormally risky for a consumer’s use
- Defective manufacturing: Including improper construction or assembly
- Defective marketing: Inadequate/false warning or instructions
- Non-legal Parts: Inclusion of non-legal or unapproved parts or substances
Examples of Product Liability Cases
Some of the largest and most significant product liability cases in recent decades include Philip Morris tobacco products, General Motors automobile parts, and Dow Corning silicone breast implants. When defective products inadvertently become widespread on the market class-action suits may arise.
Our Canton Product Liability Attorneys Can Help You
Product liability cases are not the only issues for which our experienced legal team at Kisling, Nestico & Redick can help you seek compensation. Our injury lawyers have experience dealing with injuries resulting from automobile accidents, rideshare incidents, dog bites, and workplace accidents. With our 11 locations throughout Ohio, we cover extensive legal ground. In addition to product liability claims, our personal injury attorneys deal with multiple types of litigation issues and can help address your personal injury questions.
If you have any questions regarding your product liability case, call our Canton product liability attorneys at (330) 488-1234 or contact us via our online contact form to schedule a free initial consultation.