Product liability is when defective or dangerous products cause serious injury or even death. Thousands of people in the US are injured every year by these. Product Liability Law is different than other forms of injury law and can sometimes make it easier to recover damages. The manufacturer or seller of these products is held responsible or liable for distributing these dangerous products. In layman’s terms a product must live up to the ordinary expectations of a consumer or it does not meet the requirements of the law. Each state sets its own laws about product liability.
On May 1, 2009, the FDA recalled fourteen Hydroxycut products after reports of effects on consumers such as liver damage and failure, heart problems, muscle damage and in some cases kidney failure. The product liability here rests on the manufacturers and distributors. The manufacturers should have known that their product was unsafe and never should have distributed it in the first place. The manufacturers and distributors did not properly warn consumers of the drug’s dangers. The Hydroxycut company may be held liable for manufacturing defects or marketing defects in this case.
In such cases there is something known as ‘strict liability’. This means that the consumer does not need to show that the manufacturers or distributors were actually negligent. There are three guidelines that determine liability here. The first is that the product had an “unreasonably” dangerous product that caused injury. The second is that the product was used by the consumer in the way the packaging/instructions detailed. And the third rule is that the product had not been substantially changed from the condition it was meant to be sold in.
There are some common defenses to consumer claims by manufacturers and distributors. They may claim the consumer substantially altered the product after it was purchased and that it was this alteration that caused the injury. They may also say the consumer used the product for a long time without incident and knew about the defect but continued using it.
In Illinois a consumer may take up to two years after the injury occurred to file suit. Don’t wait that long. Strict Liability allows a consumer to file suit much more easily than with other personal injury suits. It’s also important to come forward and shed light with others on the product liability so others don’t experience the same thing.