Who is Legally Responsible for a Defective Product?

A person may not have reason to think about just how many products – both commercial and consumer – he or she comes into contact with each day or how these products may jeopardize personal safety if they fail. We are potentially in peril at any given moment and rely on the safety features of products to prevent danger; when these safety features fail or a product is designed improperly, the results can redefine the course of a victim’s life.

Part of the job of a product liability attorney is to determine who may be legally responsible for a defective product. There is not always a clear-cut answer. Including the correct parties in a product liability claim can make all the difference in receiving fair compensation for injuries. Bart Bernard helps injury victims answer these kinds of questions and has earned a track record of success as a result.

Negligence and defective products

Often overlooked everyday items lead to personal injury and property damage ranging from the most minor to tragically fatal. Consider in an average work day:

  • The coffee maker for the first morning cup of joe, which may cause extensive damage if it catches fire
  • Each of the automobiles on the road throughout the drive to work, which can cause serious injury to other drivers if the brakes fail
  • The office swivel chairs which can cause strains and sprains in the event of a collapse
  • The electrical charger that powers the personal cell phone and may cause burn injuries if it catches fire

The party legally responsible in each instance will depend on who was negligent.

At the center of most personal injury and property damage cases, from dog bites to product liability injuries, is the question of negligence. A party is negligent if it was under a duty to do or not do a thing, and by breaching that duty proximately caused the injury or damages. In a product liability case, the plaintiff needs to prove that a defendant was negligent and therefore must be able to point to what duty was breached.

Some of the possible scenarios in a product liability lawsuit:

  • The designer incorporated a safety flaw
  • The manufacturer used the wrong materials
  • The distributor improperly labeled the risks

Cost of defective products

When people are injured by products, the injuries can cause tremendous economic and emotional loss. One indicator is the disparity in personal injury awards by type of cause. According to the Insurance Information Institute, product liability claims top the personal injury jury verdict rankings substantially, with the median 2014 verdict at $3,000,000. For perspective, the next highest median verdict was medical malpractice, at $775,500, followed by business negligence at $226,667.

In order for product liability verdicts to be collectible, the plaintiff must include the proper parties and also ensure that the claims raised are thorough in order to trigger coverage by the defendants’ insurers.

At the Bart Bernard Injury Lawyers, we know which questions to ask in order to find the answers that establish liability. We help victims achieve maximum compensation for their injuries. Call any time, day or night, for a free case consultation.

Product liability resources

  1. Bart Bernard, Product Liability Case Review, //product-liability/
  2. Insurance Information Institute, Product Liability, http://www.iii.org/fact-statistic/product-liability



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