Product Liability: Who to Sue When Defective Products Cause Injuries
Consumers have the right to sue companies for product liabilities. Injuries caused as a direct result of a product, under proper use and inside of expected safety precautions, may result in a lawsuit against a company.
A person riding a bike may fall and get hurt, and this would be a result of proper use of the bike. But if the frame breaks mid-ride and the person becomes injured because the welding was inadequate, there is a possible product liability case.
Product liability is complex because there are often long distribution chains involved.
Multiple defendants may be included in a single category of defendants, and it's up to a legal professional to ensure all parties responsible for the defect are held liable. The parties that might be involved are:
- Manufacturer: The manufacturer of a product isn't necessarily the same person that designed the product. Many companies outsource the manufacturing process. There are also sub manufacturers that may create one piece of a product (i.e. a television that caught fire may have had manufacturers for the entire assembly, one for the chips and one for the tube). All parties may be responsible for the defect. QA specialists may be responsible, too.
- Retailer: You've purchased a product from a reputable store, and the retailer may be liable for you purchasing a defective product. Perhaps the retailer promoted the product as safe and marketed it extensively, but it didn’t meet the standards or claims in the marketing material.
Any number of individuals and companies may be brought into a product liability lawsuit, including:
- Technical designers
- Quality assurance specialists
- Manufacturing companies
- Designing companies
When a list of defendants is named, the list may also include wholesalers and distributors. These parties should also be included as defendants in the lawsuit.
Persons also includes corporations that are viewed as a person under corporate personhood. Successors of a company should be named in a claim. The successor of the company will be liable on an "inherited" basis.
When finding who to sue, you may come across foreign companies that are involved in the contracting, manufacturing or other portions of the product creation process. These companies will be under the jurisdiction of their own courts, or the courts where the business conducts business. Naming these defendants is a must.
You have the right to name foreign defendants.
The reason for naming as many defendants as possible is to ensure that the settlement money is paid. If one of the companies in the supply chain went bankrupt and no longer exists, the remaining companies will be jointly and separately liable for the entirety of the settlement. Multiple parties allows you to ensure that your reward is paid.
Lawyers working on product liability cases often benefit because of wealthy corporations being required to pay the settlement.
A seasoned product liability lawyer will help you determine who is responsible in a product liability claim. The lawyer will help you name the right defendant to ensure that any award is paid to the fullest extent.