Sometimes, goods we buy are faulty or defective and this can lead to injury. Product liability law exists to protect consumers from such occurrences. It covers all products and services that originate from the European Union that are supplied to consumers. In effect, it allows consumers to sue the manufacturer of a product that has caused them personal injury.
Have You Been Injured?
Personal injury is a wide term and would include, for example, injury caused to a child because of a faulty pushchair wheel, an allergic reaction to contaminated cosmetics, infection with E. coli from factory made food or burns to the skin as a result of contact with toxic substances contained in furnishings. In addition, it is possible to make a claim if you have been injured by faulty pharmaceutical products or bio-medical devices (such as breast implants, pacemakers, hip replacements etc).
Unlike other types of personal injury claim, to succeed in a product liability claim it is not necessary to prove that the manufacturer of the product was in any way ‘at fault’ or negligent. It is merely necessary to show that the injury suffered was caused by the product.
Multiple Claimant Cases
Often, if there is a fault with a product, you may not be the only person to have been injured. For example, many people might suffer a skin reaction caused by the use of a contaminated body lotion. On the other hand, some types of defect may result in completely different injuries – such as could arise, for example, from a fault in the construction of a mountain bike.
In cases in which a number of people suffer injuries which stem from a single source, it is common for claimants to join together to take collective action against the producer of the product. The action is brought by a representative member on behalf of all members of the group.
There are in essence four types of claim. There may be a fault with:
The manufacturing process. This means that the product has not been assembled, made, mixed or constructed properly;
The design of the product. This means that the product has been properly manufactured, but that there is an inherent fault with its design;
The product may be well designed and perfectly manufactured but poses dangers if incorrectly or improperly used. These types of cases arise if the manufacturer has failed to warn consumers sufficiently or at all about the inherent dangers of the product; or
The recall process. This happens where the product is faulty (for any of the above reasons) and, whilst aware of the faults in the product, the manufacturer has failed to recall it from consumers.
If you have suffered an injury as a result of a faulty product, you may be able to make a claim for compensation under product liability law. However, there are strict time limits and procedures that apply to this area of law, so it is very important to seek specialist advice without delay.