What Does Products Liability Mean?

In Safety Guardians, we talk about a lot of different things, such as how to protect yourself from household things that you just don’t realize are either dangerous or defective. Today’s topic is going to be about exactly what that entails.


Product Liability

What is a product liability case? I bring up product liability because a lot of people have asked me about this, and they’re not just sure what this means. So, I want to go over that.

The legal definition is, “product liability refers to a manufacturer or a seller being held liable for placing a defective product into the hands of the consumer”. Responsibility for a product defect that causes injury lies with all sellers of the product. So, that means basically from the manufacturer, on down the line to the distributor, to the actual retailer. Anybody who sold that product is automatically liable in a products defect or products liability case.


Defectively Manufactured Products

So, within that compartment are three separate products liability subsections, for a lack of a better term. That is: defectively manufactured products, defectively designed products, and failure to adequately warn or instruct. So I want to give you examples of all there so that you kind of understand and then we’ll go from there. I’ll go through these with examples of cases that we’ve had in the past.  First, an above ground swimming pool that has a ladder that’s extremely unstable and tends to fracture, meaning break, whenever people get on it. So, in this instance, we have a little girland the ladder fractured in half. She fell back and hit the back of her neck and severed her spine. I found out there was a recall on the ladder and the family never knew about the recall.


Defectively Designed Products

Second, is defectively designed products. This is whenever a car or an ATV or something like that is prone to tipping – for example – whenever you turn a corner. Another thing is whenever a car is prone to catching fire in minor accidents. Believe it or not, there are a lot of recalls out there where cars catch fires for either no reason or whenever there’s a minimal impact that has happened. So keep that stuff in mind because recalls happen daily! Manufacturers are not out there trying to find you guys to give you the recalls. They are waiting for you to have a problem and then call them up. So just keep that in mind.


Failure to Adequately Warn or Instruct

The last area for products liability is called failure to adequately warn or instruct. So, in that sense, a good example of that is a strong paint thinner or paint stripper, some kind of strong chemical like that, and the instructions on the back don’t give you the actual instructions on how to properly and safely handle that material. So, in this instance, somebody had a severe burn because they decided not to use gloves. Well, guess what? Nowhere on the product does it say not to use without gloves. It doesn’t say anything, in fact. It’s a very, very broad label! They basically failed to properly warn or instruct in that instance.


These are just examples of different things within those categories of products liability cases that occur commonly throughout everyone’s household. So I just want to make sure you understand that. We try to get as much insightful information as possible. We try to be as helpful as possible. If you have any questions or concerns, please email me. If you have a question about a product that you may think there may be a recall because of some kind of injury that happened in your household, let me know. I’d love to take a look at it and see if we can help.