Who Is Liable for a Defective Product?
Each year, defective products contribute to roughly 30 million injuries. If you or a loved one is one of the many people harmed by a defective product, you may be able to sue for compensation. Since many parties share the responsibility for defective products, you can end up suing multiple defendants.
Of course, one of the main parties involved in any defective product liability case will be the manufacturer. The company that makes a product is often directly responsible for any defects. It can be sued for this because it has a duty to ensure a product is safe before putting it on the market. Whether a product is faulty due to poor design, cheap equipment, lack of research or confusing user instructions, it is primarily the manufacturer’s fault. In most cases, the manufacturer will be an entity. However, if a worker acted outside the scope of his or her employment in a way that caused product defects, you may end up suing them individually as well.
In some cases, a defective product is caused by a faulty component that was made by a different entity. Any manufacturer that becomes involved after the defect is introduced can be held liable. For example, if a faulty spring causes a toy to injure your child, both the spring manufacturer and the company that assembled the toy may be responsible. The maker of the product has a duty to buy safe, effective components instead of shoddy, dangerous hardware. Failing in this responsibility opens a manufacturer up to lawsuits.
The manufacturer isn’t the only party that fails a customer with a defective product. The retailers that sell the product are also negligent. Stores are supposed to perform due diligence and provide customers with only safe products. If a retailer has failed to ensure a product is safe before selling it, it may be responsible for some of your injuries. You and your personal injury attorney can seek compensation from the retailer for its negligence.
You may be able to sue the retailer even if you didn’t purchase the product directly from it. Consider the case of borrowing a faulty lawnmower from a neighbor. If you get injured, you can sue the store that sold the lawnmower to the neighbor since they’re the ones who spread the product to consumers. Both the original retailer and the seller of a secondhand item may also be liable. Keep in mind that in New Jersey product liability cases, you don’t have to pick one specific party to sue. Anyone involved can be sued, and all responsible parties may end up splitting the costs of compensating you.
In most cases, selling a product isn’t as simple as making a product and providing it to a customer. Instead, there is typically a whole chain of middlemen involved in product distribution. Every party that is involved in getting the product to your door can be part of a product liability lawsuit. This can include a broad range of wholesalers, distributors, and other individuals or corporations. You may be able to sue the parent company of corporations or other tangentially involved groups.
Another potentially involved party is the advertisers of the product. In most cases, this will just be the manufacturer and retailer themselves. However, some products may be advertised independently by celebrities, spokespeople or social media influencers. If this person accepted payment to advertise the product, he or she may also share some of the blame for getting consumers to purchase a dangerous item.
As you can see, there are all sorts of parties who may need to be held responsible for negligence. If you are considering initiating a defective product lawsuit, it’s a good idea to talk to a personal injury attorney. At RAM Law, we can help you navigate all the complexities of defective product cases. Visit our offices in New Brunswick, Somerville and Freehold, or call (732) 247-3600 to set up a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.