We live in an often fast-paced and very technical world. The products we buy are no longer made by the small company down the street. Rather, we buy many products that are mass produced. Many times, the companies that mass produce these products will only check perhaps one out of every 1,000 products before shipping those products for you and your family to use. Many of these products are made in foreign countries. Many products are mass assembled, they are put together from parts made by the lowest bidder or made in overseas factories. Some of the parts may not be quite right but they are put together anyway and the product is sold to you and your family. Sometimes, companies are blinded by the profit motive, if they can save a few pennies during the mass production process, even if those pennies relate to safety features, the product will be made on the cheap and it will be sold in this unsafe condition to you and your family. Some companies are just not concerned about your safety.
Which products are covered?
Product liability law applies to almost every item that you use at home, at work and at play. All of these things, your child's toy, your recreational and sporting goods, the tools and utensils you use around your home and garden, the equipment you use at the office or in the factory, all of these things are products controlled by product liability law. Even component parts of the products that you use on a day-to-day basis are covered by the product liability laws. The item or one of its components, the car or its brake system, the bicycle or its front fork, the table saw or its guard, the toy or its lead painted piece, the recreational equipment or its sharp-edged piece, can be the product which is the focus of a defective product case.
Who is responsible for defective products?
Product liability law holds that anyone who designs, manufactures, sells or otherwise distributes a defective product can be held responsible for the injuries caused by that defective product. Suppose your child gets injured by a defective toy that was designed and manufactured overseas, brought to the United States by a California importer, sold wholesale by a national distributor to a national toy store chain and eventually sold by that toy store to you. Each one of those companies, the foreign designer and manufacturer, the importer, the distributor and finally the retail toy store may be held responsible for your child's injuries from a defective product. Some states have different laws in this regard but an experienced attorney will track down all the parties who may be responsible even though this can be a difficult process.
Click here to read part 2 of the article which discusses what to do after being injured by a dangerous product.