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Products containing inherent defects that cause harm to you, the consumer of the product, or someone to whom the product was loaned, given, etc., are the subjects of products liability suits.

Products liability refers to the liability of any or all parties along the chain of manufacture of any product for damage caused by that product.

This includes

  • The manufacturer of component parts (at the top of the chain),
  • An assembling manufacturer
  • The wholesaler
  • The retail storeowner (at the bottom of the chain).

While products may be tangible personal property, products liability has stretched that definition to include

  • Intangibles (gas)
  • Naturals (pets)
  • Real Estate (houses)
  • Writings (navigational charts).

Products liability claims may be based on

  • Negligence
  • Strict liability
  • Breach of warranty of fitness depending on the jurisdiction within which the claim is based.

In any jurisdiction you must prove that the product is defective. There are three types of product defects that incur liability in manufacturers and suppliers

  • Design defects
  • Manufacturing defects
  • Defects in marketing.

Design defects are inherent; they exist before the product is manufactured. While the item might serve its purpose well, it can be unreasonably dangerous to use due to a design flaw.

Manufacturing defects occur during the construction or production of the item. Only a few out of many products of the same type are flawed in this case.

Marketing defects deal with improper instructions and failures to warn consumers of latent dangers in the product.