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Can you sue for a defective product?

June 9, 2019

Even though manufacturers go to great lengths to ensure they’re putting out quality products, mistakes do happen. Either in the designing of a product like a handbag, or in the handbag manufacturing process, simple errors can result in a defective product reaching consumers. If you happen to buy one of these rare defective products, can you sue?

Can You Sue Over the Purchase of a Defective Product?

If you have bought a product only to find out it’s defective in some way, like a waist trainer, this will not be enough to file a product liability claim. Unless you have been harmed or injured through the use of the product, you won’t have much success in filing a lawsuit against the manufacturer or distributor. In this type of situation, your best option for compensation is to try to return the product to the seller for a full refund. If that’s not possible, you may have to contact the manufacturer directly.
However, if you have been injured through the use of the product, you may be able to sue for damages. Even in these situations, your ability to sue will depend upon your ability to meet the criteria for a lawsuit. The law sets out a few guidelines that must be met in order for this type of claim to proceed.

Meeting the Conditions of Defective Product Claim

Duty of Care
The first factor you must be able to show in court is that the manufacturer owed a duty of care. In terms of creating a product, this typically means that the product was no more dangerous to use than was absolutely necessary. The product should have safety features to reduce the risks of injury.
Breach of the Duty of Care
To establish this condition, you must show that some defect rendered the product dangerous to use. This may mean that the very design of the product makes all of them hazardous to use, or it may mean a mistake in the manufacturing process rendered the one product dangerous. 
Show That the Product was Used Properly
You cannot file a defective product claim, if you were injured by using the product improperly. You must have been using the product as the manufacturer intended at the time you were injured by the defect. 
The Breach of Duty Caused Your Injuries
The breach of duty, or the defect, must have been responsible for causing your injuries. For instance, if you bought a new hairdryer and were electrocuted the first time you used it as a result of a short in the wiring, that defect directly caused your injuries. However, if you received only a light shock, but suffered a heart attack three hours later, that electrical short can’t be said to have caused your heart attack. The injuries you suffer must be the actual and proximate result of your use of the defective product.
Your Injuries Resulted in Financial Loss
The injuries you suffered must have caused you some financial loss. If you received only a minimal shock from the use of that defective hairdryer, your claim will be unsuccessful. However, you will have a stronger case, if you received a substantial shock that required medical attention, therapy, and missed time from work. If the short in the hairdryer resulted in a house fire, you may also be able to sue for damages to recover that financial loss. In that case, you may be able to receive compensation to cover the loss of your home and your need to obtain temporary lodging. 
If you have been harmed or injured through the use of a defective product, you may be able to file a claim. In this type of situation, it’s best to consult a personal injury lawyer ahead of time. Your lawyer will know how to proceed and will have the expertise to help you negotiate for a fair settlement.

Sources:
https://injury.findlaw.com/product-liability/get-legal-help-with-a-defective-product-injury.html
https://consumer.findlaw.com/consumer-transactions/defective-products-and-consumer-rights.html

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