If you or a loved one were injured by a defective product, it may be possible to hold the defective product manufacturer financially responsible for those injuries. Although less common, it may be possible to recover compensation from a product seller in some circumstances.
Product Injury Claims Against Defective Product Manufacturers
Georgia defective product personal injury claims are most commonly made against product manufacturers. Potential claims against product manufacturers include:
- Strict liability. Product manufacturers are subject to Georgia's "strict liability" laws. A manufacturer can potentially be held financially responsible (liable) for injuries that occur due to product defects, even if the manufacturer did not know that the product was defective. Strict liability claims can be made based on a variety of product defect types, including defective design, defective manufacturing or "failure to warn" defects.
- Negligence. These claims generally involve proving that the manufacturer knew about (or should have known about) a danger, they failed in their duty to protect consumers from that danger, and that failure resulted in injuries.
- Breach of warranty. Warranties can be explicit or implied. An explicit warranty is a direct claim by a manufacturer that a product will work in a certain way. Most Georgia products are also covered by an implied or implicit warranty that the product is basically fit for the purposes for which it is being sold. If a product does not meet the standards described in a warranty and injury resulted, a breach of warranty may have occurred.
Product Sellers, Distributors or Retailers
Under GA Code § 51-1-11.1, "product seller" is a broad category, including those who lease, sell, distribute, install, package, label, market or repair products. Product sellers are largely exempt from strict liability claims in Georgia.
Depending on the specific circumstances of a case, it may be possible to make a claim against a product seller based on negligence or breach of warranty. However, it is usually more difficult to make these claims against product sellers, and it may not be possible to make a successful claim against a product seller at all.
Proving negligence in a defective product case generally requires proving that the responsible party had a duty of care, they failed in that duty, and that failure caused a person's injuries. A product seller's duties are more limited than a product manufacturer's duties, which can make it more difficult to successfully make a negligence claim against a product seller.
Breach of warranty claims against product sellers can potentially be made in certain specific circumstances. For example, breach of warranty claims can potentially be made against a defective product seller if the seller breached an explicit or implicit warranty and that breach resulted in a person's injuries. Note that breach of warranty claims generally can only be made against a party that is in the business of selling the particular kind of product that caused the injuries. A Firestone tire store is "in the business" of selling tires. A neighbor selling a used car on Craigslist is not.
Understanding Who is Responsible for Defective Product Injuries
The laws that apply to Georgia product manufacturers and product sellers are different, and it may not always be obvious who is responsible for a product defect. That's why it's important to seek experienced legal representation in a defective product case. A knowledgeable defective product attorney understands the complex laws surrounding product liability and will be able to advise you on the best way to receive compensation for your injuries. Contact the Hadden Law Firm to learn more.