When a dangerous or defective product injures a consumer, they have the right to file a product liability claim to receive compensation for their injuries. Since laws can vary from state to state concerning manufacturer and sellerresponsibilities and the requirements for proving what counts as defective, proving fault can get complicated incredibly fast. There are three types of product liability claims in the state of Illinois.
Strict liability means that anyone working on the manufacturing, distribution, or sales side may be held responsible when a defective product causes harm to someone. These claims require three components, of which all three must be present:
- The plaintiff’s injury stemmed from a defect or condition of the product.
- The product’s defect was unreasonably dangerous.
- The defect or condition existed while the product was still in the defendant’s possession.
The idea of strict liability is proving that a product’s defect could potentially have been expected to cause physical harm to a consumer and was released anyway.
Confirming negligence means determining that the defendant failed to exercise a proper standard of care during the design, production or distribution of the product.It is the plaintiff’s responsibility to prove negligence led to the product harming them.
Negligence claims require three elements:
- A duty of care was owed to the injured plaintiff.
- The defendant breached the duty of care.
- This breach of duty directly resulted in the plaintiff’s injury.
Under both strict liability and negligence claims, the burden is still on the plaintiff to prove harm came to them because the product was defective.
BREACH OF WARRANTY
Breach of warranty assumes either an implied, verbal or written communication of contractual standards that were not met. Two major types show up in a breach of warranty. With express warranty, a written or verbal warranty was offered, followed by injury from the product. Implied warranty means there’s an expectation for consumers to believe the product meets minimal safety standards for sale. Basically, you trust the seller to not give you a damaged or dangerous product.
With the plaintiff burden to prove injury was caused by the product being defective, there are three types of product defects to keep in mind:
- Design defect: A flaw in the actual product design when there could have been a safer alternative that wouldn’t make manufacturing far more expensive or impractical.
- Manufacturing defect: The assembly or manufacturing is botched in some way, so the product sold was not how it was intended to be.
- Marketing defect: When the consumer isn’t properly warned of possible issues or dangers inherent in use or possession of the product.
DON’T TRY TO FIGURE OUT THE SYSTEM ALONE
With so many complexities involved in a product liability claim, it’s important to seek legal counsel. The statute of limitations in Illinois demands that product liability claims for personal injuries must be filed within two years, with five years for property damage. It’s best to work through an experienced law firm where a lawyer focusing on personal injuries knows the ins and outs of this particular portion of law.