What is a products liability lawsuit?
A products liability based lawsuit arises when a manufacturer of a product or device is directly responsible for the injuries that its product or device caused. There are generally three potential theories of recovery that an injured person can assert against a manufacturer. The first, is where the injured person sues the company for negligence, which requires a showing that the manufacturer failed to manufacture the product in the same way that a reasonably prudent manufacturer would have. This can be via either a manufacturing defect, or a design defect. Additionally, by law, manufacturers must also include reasonable warnings on their products regarding any potential dangers and a failure to do so can result in liability being imposed.
The second theory of liability in a products liability lawsuit, is "breach of warranty," which is based in contract law. Essentially, each time you purchase a product from a company, there are certain express and implied warranties that ensure its quality and safety. If the product is unsafe, these warranties have been breached and the injured consumer can sue for breach of contract/breach of implied warranty. Specifically, the plaintiff could bring an action for a breach of an implied warranty of merchantability.
The third theory of liability is known as strict liability. Unlike negligence, the individual does not need to show that the seller acted carelessly. Maryland law requires a person pursuing a strict liability claim to prove: (1) That the product was defective when it left the manufacturer’s or seller’s control; (2) That the product was unreasonably dangerous; (3) That the product’s defect caused the victim’s injuries; and (4) That there was no substantial change in the product’s condition prior to its reaching the consumer.
What types of product liability lawsuits are there?
Products liability lawsuits have been brought in the following areas area for injuries caused by defective or unsafe:
Medical equipment and devices
Construction equipment and tools
Industrial equipment and machinery
Restaurant equipment and machinery
Pesticides and herbicides
What types of damages can be claimed in a products liability lawsuit?