Who Is Liable for Injuries Caused by a Defective Product?
Suffering a defective product injury can be painful and confusing. Liability in product injury lawsuits can be complex, and you may not know who you can hold accountable for your injuries. Oftentimes, these cases involve multiple entities.
You can file a product liability lawsuit against any entity along the chain of distribution, depending on the circumstances surrounding your injury. You may name one defendant in your case, but it may be in your best interest to name every single entity or individual who was involved in the creation, sale, or supply of the defective product.
#1: The Manufacturer
The most obvious defendant in a product liability claim is the manufacturer of the product. These entities control multiple processes where the defect might have occurred, from assembling the product to developing an inherently defective design to failing to include adequate warnings or instructions. You can include additional parties who worked with the manufacturer on this product in your lawsuit as well.
#2: The Component Supplier
In products that contain several important components, such as motor vehicles, the manufacturer as a whole may not be solely liable for your injuries. If the accident occurred due to a component inside of the product that a third-party supplier provided, you can file a claim against the component supplier directly as well as the manufacturer.
#3: The Retailer
Although retailers are not involved in the design or manufacture of the product, they may be liable for selling you a defective product. Retailers have a responsibility to ensure that the products they sell are safe and not defective. They must remove any products that are defective, and failure to do so is an act of negligence.
You do not have to be the actual buyer of the product to hold the retailer accountable, and you do not have to be the product user either — for example, if you suffer an injury after a friend’s vape pen exploded, you can still hold the retailer, manufacturer, and any other entity involved in the chain of distribution accountable. Both new and used products may be eligible for this type of litigation.
#4: The Distributor
You can also hold the distributor or wholesaler who provided the product to the retailer responsible for your injuries. The distributor is the reason why the product made its way to store shelves, after all, and distributing a defective product is an act of negligence. Any middlemen that appear between manufacturers and retailers may be liable for your injuries.
What to Do After a Defective Product Injury
If you suffer an injury while using a product, you need to take two immediate actions: seek medical attention and preserve evidence. Keep the product and all physical evidence related to your injury, such as your clothing or vehicle — do not throw anything away. Visit a hospital as soon as possible to treat your injuries and save all documentation. After you seek medical attention, contact a product liability attorney.
Your defective product lawyer can help you determine the cause of your injury, seeking help from expert witnesses who can examine the evidence and provide valuable testimony in your case. Your attorney will also help you understand who to hold liable, helping you navigate the complex litigation process. To preserve your right to compensation, speak to your attorney as soon as possible following the accident.