The term product liability refers to cases in which someone is injured because of a defect in a product. The term may be applied also to cases dealing with property damage. There must be a defect in the product. The defect must exist at the time the product left the control of the manufacturer or other defendant in the stream of commerce. In addition to the manufacturer of a product, others in the stream of commerce may be liable for product liability. Others in the stream of commerce may include distributors, dealers and sellers.
There are different types of defects. A product may be defective in the way it was designed, or it may be defective in the way it was manufactured, or the warnings accompanying a product may be defective. If you have been injured due to a defective product, please contact Chicago product liability attorneys at the Law Office of John E. Marszalek.
Theoretically, the degree of care exercised by the manufacturer or other company in the stream of commerce is not a defense. The focus is on whether the product was defective and unreasonably dangerous, whether the defect existed at the time the product left the control of the defendant and whether the defect caused the injury.
Cases involving food provide examples of typical product liability cases. Someone who sells defective or contaminated food is liable to the consumer, so long as the consumer is injured. The seller of bad food may not escape liability because he was careful in preparing the food. The liability imposed is strict, although not absolute. It is liability without negligence.
In addition to food, many other types of products may give rise to claims for strict product liability. Passengers on airplanes that crash because of a defective part or defective design of the aircraft may have a product liability claim against the manufacturer of the aircraft. Someone injured in a motor vehicle crash may have a valid product liability claim if the crash was caused by a defect in the vehicle. Patients who take prescription drugs may have a product liability claim against the manufacturer of the drug if the drug contained a defective warning that failed to properly instruct the physician who prescribed the drug.
In order to present a valid product liability claim, the user of the product must use the product as it was intended to be used. For example, if someone uses the base of a stapler to pound a nail into a wall, and a staple enters his eye causing damage to his vision, he may not have a product liability case against the manufacturer of the stapler. Staplers are not intended to be used as hammers.
Products that are old may not give rise to product liability claims. For example, in Illinois, someone injured or damaged by a product that is twenty (20 or thirty (30) years old may not have a product liability case based on strict liability.
Lawyers at the Law Office of John E. Marszalek in Chicago have handled hundreds of product liability claims over the past forty (40) years. If you want to discuss a potential product liability claim, feel free to contact us. You pay nothing unless we recover money for you.