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Evaluating whether you have a products liability claim

When you purchase products, regardless of whether they are for your personal or professional use, you expect that they will operate as intended and not cause you any harm. In some cases, a product may not live up to your expectations.

You may suffer serious injuries because of the defective product, which causes you to incur substantial monetary losses. You may wonder whether you can file a products liability claim seeking compensation for those losses and other damages. One of four primary legal avenues could help you to determine if you have a claim.

Number one: Negligence

If you allege negligence, you must prove the following elements to the court:

  • Someone owed you a duty.
  • That someone breached the duty owed to you.
  • That breach was the proximate and actual cause of your injury.
  • You suffered actual damages.

Product manufacturers must adhere to certain standards of care outlined in the law. They must act as experts in the same industry would reasonably act. They must also anticipate the risks and uses associated with their products. In addition, the court will need evidence that in the absence of the alleged negligence, you would not have suffered any injury.

Number two: Warranty

When a manufacturer provides you with a warranty, it is guaranteeing the product's quality. You may be given one or both of the following warranties for a particular product:

  • An implied warranty of merchantability guarantees that the product works and will perform as expected.
  • An implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose guarantees that the directions for a product's use are correct.
  • An express warranty guarantees the manufacturer's specific statements regarding the product's quality.

A breach of any of these warranties could result in a products liability claim.

Number three: Tortious misrepresentation

When a manufacturer makes statements that are misleading or false regarding a product that you relied on, and you ended up with injuries as a result, you may recover damages under this legal basis. In most cases, tortious misrepresentation occurs under the following circumstances:

  • A person knowingly deceived you.
  • A person failed to make sure the statements made were correct.
  • A manufacturer publicly declared the product's safety.

You do not need to show that the product was defective, just that your reliance on a false communication caused you injury.

Number four: Strict liability

Under the legal basis of strict liability, any product defects that occur during the manufacturing process could cause a manufacturer to bear legal liability despite any level of care taken by it. Strict liability may also apply when the manufacturer failed to provide appropriate and ample warnings for the product.

It can sometimes be a challenge to determine which category that your claim falls into, so it may be a good idea to consult with someone who can provide you with the answers you need.

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