Defective Product Injury Claims: How your solicitor proves legal fault for injury caused by a defective product
Find out what defective product injury claims are; how a defect with the instructions or packaging may be sufficient to show fault; the four laws that your solicitor relies upon to prove your claim with access to specialist solicitor free online help.
What are defective product injury claims?
A product can include many things from highly engineered items, such as cars & bicycles to medicines & foodstuffs, such as a pack of biscuits. Most things you purchase will have been manufactured in some way.
When a product is being used for the purpose it was intended and a defect or malfunction causes you injury, you could be entitled to claim compensation for your injury (including direct financial loss & expense), such actions are known as defective product injury claims also known product liability injury claims.
Please note – there does not just have to be a defect with the product itself, there could be an error in the instructions of use of the item or the packaging of the item (for example, razor sharp plastic packaging or medicines with incorrect dosage amounts). If such errors exist and causes injury – you may still have a product liability compensation claim.
What laws does your solicitor rely upon to make a defective product liability injury claim?
There are a number of laws that your solicitor will rely on to make a claim:
1. The Law of Torts or Negligence
This is the fundamental basis of personal injury law and relies on your lawyer showing:
- that you were owed a duty of care (a manufacturer of a product even though the product was purchased by a shop for sale still owes a consumer a duty of care as the end user as it was for you ultimately the product was manufactured)
- the duty was breached by act or omission (by doing something negligently or negligently failing to do something that should have been done)
- it was foreseeable that breach of duty through negligence could cause injury (some negligent acts might not cause injury nor would such an act be anticipated to cause injury – only negligence that could be anticipated to cause injury can be claimed for); and
- the injury was not too remote (known as remoteness of damage – for example it might be foreseen that a defective pram could cause a baby injury – but it would be considered too remote to foresee that a mother finding out her pram wheel fell off with no baby in the pram and being shocked at what could have happened to her baby).
2. Breach of Statutory Duty
The products that are manufactured for public consumption will typically be governed by a very specific law relating to the safety requirements of that product. For example – bicycles must be made so as to adhere to the Pedal Bicycles Safety Regulations.
If this law is breached this is evidence that can be relied upon to show that a manufacturer is legally at fault.
3. The Consumer Protection Act 1987 & General Product Safety Regulations
When you purchase a product you are classed as a consumer and as such the Consumer Protection Act 1987 will protect you from injury from a defect or malfunction (strict liability is imposed on a producer if injury is shown to have been suffered from a defect with a product).
Be aware – even if you did not purchase the product, but consumed it, you can still be classed as the consumer. For example – your wife purchases a packet of biscuits that has a piece of metal in it and you eat it suffering injury – here you can be considered the consumer and so protected under the Consumer Protection Act 1987.
The Consumer Protection Act also defines a defective product is and takes into account the intended use of the product, its price quality and age of item.
4. Contract Law
When an item is purchased for sale by a retailer a contract is in place with express and implied terms (the Sale Of Goods Act 1979 as amended)
An express term is something specifically written in the purchase agreement – whereas implied terms are those not necessarily written, but presumed as applying to the purchase agreement.
If the sale takes place in the course of a business it is implied that the item is fit for the purpose it is ordinarily used, safe to use and free from defect.
Watch out – a seller pointing out problems before sale can avoid breach of contract.
Contract is generally applies between the purchaser and seller, but the sometimes implied terms can pass and the seller can be found responsible for injury or death caused by breach of the implied terms.
Our specialist solicitor free online help
If you suspect you have suffered injury as a result of a defective product and wish to speak to a solicitor or ask an online question – see our specialist solicitor free online / telephone help options.