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Product Liability

A significant number of injuries and death result from defective products. Defects may occur in the design or manufacture of products, and may not be readily apparent until the harm has already occurred. Claims against the manufacturers of such products are known as product liability claims, and manufacturers may be liable to those injured by their products under Georgia law. Product liability claims may also be made on the basis of damages to property, usually in the case of large-scale environmental pollution.

Product liability cases are often highly technical and require the use of experts and attorneys with extensive knowledge of the particular product and defect involved. The law governing use of expert testimony is complex and evolving, as noted in attorney John Hadden's article in the American Association for Justice Product Liability Newsletter. Defects can be present in any product, but some of the most common cases involve automobiles and automotive components, such as tires, airbags, and fuel systems; industrial and household equipment, including appliances, lawnmowers, and other common items found in the home; pharmaceuticals and medical devices, including prescription and over-the-counter medication, as well as pacemakers and similar devices, and medical implants such as hip and joint replacement implants; and chemicals, including common household chemicals as well as industrial and agricultural compounds.

Strict time limitations apply to Georgia product liability cases. Aside from the general requirement that claims be made within a certain period of the time of the injury or damage (usually two years for personal injury, or four years for loss of consortium, but with exceptions in some cases, particularly where the running of the statute of limitation is tolled, or stopped, due to the claimant's age or other disability), claims for defective design or manufacture must usually be brought within 10 years of the date of the first sale or use of the product due to Georgia's statute of repose. Claims that a manufacturer failed to warn the ultimate user of the potential for injury or harm can sometimes be made outside of that 10-year period, but such claims may be difficult to prove. Therefore, if you or someone you love have been injured by a defective product, it is important to pursue that claim in a timely manner.

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