Product liability relates to a product involved in the death, injury, or damage to a person or property primarily due to the product being ‘defective’.
Manufacturers, suppliers, distributors and retailers may bear responsibility and be the subject of a claim if they are involved along the chain. All have a duty of care to consumers of product and may be liable for a faulty or defective product. There are multiple options available when considering whether to pursue a product liability claim.
If you have been injured by a defective product then contact our injury solicitors now to find out how we can help you.
Product liability law
There are two main legal channels a claimant can use to make a product liability claim: the Consumer Protection Act 2015 and common law of negligence.
The Consumer Protection Act states the trader of a product may be liable for any death, injury, or damage to personal property caused by a defective product.
“A product is defective if ‘the safety of the product is not such as persons generally are entitled to expect”Gov.uk
What persons are generally entitled to expect regarding product safety differs from product to product, including the price, how a product has been marketed and the time between the product being manufactured and then supplied to the consumer.
There must also be a valid contract in place, whether express or implied. A breach of that contract may include:
- Compliance with the description of the product
- Failure to be of satisfactory quality
- Unfit for purpose
- Incorrect installation
Quality is a general term which includes – appearance and finish, freedom from minor defects, safety, durability and fitness for all the purposes the product was supplied.
Manufacturers of, or any person responsible for, a component within a product can also be found liable under the Consumer Protection Act. This also includes producers and suppliers.
Common law of negligence states that manufacturers have to take reasonable care to ensure that a product is safe for its intended use. Reasonable care includes:
- Careful research and implementation during the design and manufacture of a product
- Performing tests on a product
- Providing warnings of potential dangers caused by the misuse of a product
- Recalling a product if there is the discovery that a product has a dangerous defect
Similar to the Consumer Protection Act, manufacturers are not the only party that can be found to be liable, distributers, suppliers and retailers can be found to be liable too.
Making Product liability claims
As is the case with most injury claims, you have three years from the date of injury or damage to claim under the Consumer Protection Act.
If the effects of the defective product were not immediately noticeable at the time of injury or damage then the prospective claimant has three years from the date that they were made aware of the effects of the defective product to begin a claim.
There is also a limit of ten years from when the product was put into circulation to begin a product liability claim.
It is unlikely third parties will be able to pursue a claim under the Consumer Protection Act as there is unlikely to be a valid contract in place between them and the potential ‘traders’/Defendant. However, a claim for negligence can be made by the injured or damaged party or their dependants/relatives regardless of whether or not they were the one who purchased the defective product.
If the property is business property (rather than an individual) the Consumer Protection Act does not apply. However, a claim in negligence may be brought by a business.
Examples of faulty products claims
We will provide you with a few short, specific examples of situations where you may have a successful product liability claim. This list is not exhaustive and we encourage you to get in touch with us if you think you or a family member may have been injured by a defective product.
- If you receive burns, chemical injuries, or other any other injury due to ingredients found in cosmetic make-up that had not been thoroughly tested;
- If you break a bone or are the victim of any other physical damage after falling from a faulty ladder, step ladder, or other tool;
- If you, your child, or your unborn child receive injuries or illnesses caused by the use of faulty medical devices, tools, or pharmaceutical medicines;
- If your home is damaged by a malfunctioning appliance or other piece of defective technology such as a toaster, extension lead, or hair straighteners.
Learn more about the specific product liability services we provide.
Defining a faulty product
If you think that you might have been the victim of a faulty or defective product then reach out to expert personal injury solicitors like ours at Brown Turner Ross and we can support you and help you decide on how to move forward.
We often see examples of injuries from many types of products, including following large-scale accidents like with defective vehicle injury claims.
“Products do not just refer to manufactured items. Products also refers to any goods or electricity and … includes a product which is comprised in another product, whether by virtue of being a component or raw material or otherwise.”Gov.uk
If a product has been revised and an updated, safer versions of the product is released to the public then the initial product will not necessarily be automatically thought to be defective
The safety and effectiveness of a product is comprised of many elements. The court take special care to include a focus on how the product was marketed to the public and what warnings came with the product’s instructions.