In the simplest terms, “liability” is defined as “the state of being legally obliged and responsible.” Product Liability, then, is a specific area of law where a manufacture or seller of a defective product is held liable, or responsible, for any injuries or damages suffered as a result of the defective product. To speak with a top Chicago defective product injury lawyer, contact Passen & Powell at (312) 527-4500 for a free consultation.
Product liability applies to a wide range of products, from automobile design, tires, air bags and car seats to medical devices like pace makers, unsafe toys like the Magnetix build sets, cribs and even unsafe pharmaceutical drugs.
Product liability cases require taking on the powerful interests of manufacturers and retailers who are typically large corporations, while also understanding the nuances of specific state statutes that govern product liability cases. A seasoned products liability lawyer can help you navigate both areas.
In a typical products liability action, there are three theories of liability:
2. Strict Liability
3. Breach of Warranty
Negligence follows the same “ordinary care” or “reasonableness” rule. If a manufacturer failed to exercise care while designing, testing or inspecting a product, the manufacturer may be held liable, or responsible, for injury or death resulting from the product. Manufacturers can also be held liable if they fail to provide adequate instructions and labeling, and if they fail to issue a recall notice.
A common example are car accidents as a result of defective tires. If the tire separates from the rim or blows out, serious car accidents, and serious injuries result. Such was the case with the Bridgestone/Firestone tire recall of 2000.
Strict liability means that the manufacturer can be held liable, even without proof of negligence, if the plaintiff can prove two things:
1. Defect existed at the time the product left manufacturer
2. Defect cause the injury
Breach of Express Warranty has to do with the written piece of paper with “Warranty” or “Guarantee” written across the top. This piece of paper essentially acts as a “contract of fitness” between you and the manufacturer or vendor. A breach of implied warranty may arise if the defect makes the product “unfit” for its intended purpose, even in the absence of specific written warranty language.
In Illinois, product liability cases are governed by 735 ILCS 5/2‑621. It outlines the proper procedure for filing, and responding to, a product liability case, and under what circumstances a court may or may not dismiss a case. It also outlines what happens if the manufacturer no longer exists, or if the wrong manufacturer information was given.
Contact the law offices of Passen & Powell today if you or a loved one has been seriously injured as a result of a defective product. Call us at (312) 527-4500 for a free consultation. Our product liability and dangerous or defective products attorneys can help you navigate the different areas of your product liability case.