Types of Product Liability Claims
Defects in consumer products can occur at almost any stage of their development, including production, marketing, and design. This is because companies that choose to design and manufacture products must use reasonable care in doing so throughout the entire process from design to delivery. Regardless of when the defect actually occurred, an injured party generally has to file his or her claim under one of three different legal theories: negligence, breach of warranty, or strict liability.
Plaintiffs who file their defective product claims based on a party’s negligence must be able to demonstrate that although a company had a duty to use reasonable care when designing, manufacturing, packaging, or handling a product, it failed to do so, which resulted in the plaintiff’s injury. Claims based on allegations of negligence usually require testimony from experts who can specifically point to the company’s deviation from the standard of care used in a certain industry. This could include negligent acts such as using cheap or low quality materials, using unskilled or unqualified workers, or failing to conduct proper safety testing.
Breach of Warranty
Demonstrating that a company was negligent can be difficult and require years of litigation, so many injured consumers choose to file their defective product suits as breach of warranty claims. This theory requires proof that the product in question didn’t meet the consumer’s expectations, or did not perform as the manufacturer promised. There are two main types of warranties that come with most consumer products, including:
- Express warranties, which are explicit promises that a product will work a certain way and can take the form of a guarantee on a label, or a promise made during an advertisement or on the product’s packaging; and
- Implied warranties, which although not written or stated outright, are implied promises that a product will work for its obviously intended purpose.
Breach of warranty claims are often accompanied by allegations of fraud or misrepresentation, especially if a plaintiff’s suit involves claims of overstated advertising, or the use of false or misleading labels that misrepresented material facts about a product.
Fortunately for plaintiffs, many of the product liability claims that arise in Nevada fall under the category of strict liability, which means that consumers are not required to provide evidence that a manufacturer was negligent or somehow breached its warranty in order to recover damages. Although plaintiffs who file strict liability claims do not have to provide evidence that a manufacturer, distributor, or seller should have been more careful or that it made errors in its design, they are required to establish that:
- A product had a design, manufacturing, or warning label defect that made it unreasonably dangerous to users;
- The defect existed at the time that the product in question left the defendant’s control;
- The product was used in a way that was foreseeable to the defendant; and
- The product’s defect caused them to suffer an injury.
Strict liability claims are filed most often when a person is injured by a product that was unreasonably dangerous due to an error in the manufacturing process. However, this type of claim can usually be filed any time a dangerous product failed to perform in the manner expected based on its intended function and nature.