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Products Liability

Anyone that manufactures and distributes products to the public is held responsible, or liable, for any injuries that their products may cause to the consumer. If a product placed in the stream of commerce injures you, contact an experienced attorney that you can trust at the law firm of Rudinski, Orso and Lynch.

Products liability is the body of law that governs the manufacturers, distributors, suppliers and retailers when it comes to injuries caused by their products on consumers. The most common claims in the United States involving products liability involve negligence, strict liability, breach of warranty and consumer protection claims. Product liability laws are decided upon by each individual state and vary greatly from state to state.

The majority of products liability claims involve one or more of the three following aspects. They are design defect, manufacturing defect, and a failure to warn. When a customer wants to sue a company for products liability they must be able to prove a duty owed, a breach of that duty, an injury and that the breach caused the plaintiff's injury. When it comes to products liability, strict liability is one of the most common forms of liability.

Strict liability does not focus on the behavior of the manufacturer but on the defectiveness of the product. Behavior means that strict liability focuses on whether or not the product is defective, not the negligence of the company to causing the product to be defective. Even if the product becomes defective when it is in stores, the company can still be held liable for the product's defectiveness. A manufacturer is usually forced to pay for all injuries caused by their defective product. Because of this, strict liability is only applied to manufacturing defects, not to design and warning defects.

Product liability also involves the breach of a warranty. A warranty is a statement made by a manufacturer or a party selling the product during a commercial transaction. The warranty is a statement regarding the replacement of a product if it is broken, damaged, unusable or unwanted. The customer agrees to the warranty, which usually lasts anywhere from 30 days to 3 months, for varying products. If a warranty is breached, that means the terms of the warranty have not been met by the manufacturer or the seller of the product.

There are three types of warranty breaches. The three types are breach of an express warranty, breach of an implied warranty of merchantability, and breach of an implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose. An express warranty is defined as a standard guarantee from the seller of a product that specifies the extent to which the quality or performance of the product is assured and states the conditions under which the product can be returned, replaced, or repaired.

An implied warranty of merchantability is defined as a warranty that is implied by law that goods are reasonably fit for the general purpose for which they are sold. An implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose is defined as a warranty implied by law that if a seller knows or has reason to know of a particular purpose for which some item is being purchased by the buyer, the seller is guaranteeing that the item is fit for that particular purpose.

Goods are considered merchantable under a variety of circumstances. Those circumstances are that the goods must conform to the standards of the trade as applicable to the contract for sale, the goods must fit for the purposes such goods are ordinarily used even if the buyer ordered them for otherwise, they must be uniform as to quality and quantity, they must be packed and labeled per the contract for sale and they must meet the specifications of the package labels even if not specified by the contract for sale.

If any of the terms of the warranty are broken, the customer can file a lawsuit against the company that manufactured the product and the seller that broke the terms of the warranty. Lawsuits are usually filed in civil court and can be filed for a breach of a warranty, for injuries caused by a defective product, and for negligence to produce a quality product.

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