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Whom Can I Sue in a Product Liability Case?

February 2, 2012
Colson Hicks Eidson

A defective product is a product that is unreasonably dangerous, does not carry sufficient warnings or the manufacturer fails to provide complete or adequate instructions for the product’s use. The United States Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) is the government agency that tracks injuries and deaths from defective consumer products. Some noteworthy CPSC findings:

  • Product liability cases have the second-highest median in damage awards at $300,000 – second only to medical malpractice cases
  • In December 2005, Dell recalled over 200,000 laptop batteries due to overheating and risk of fire
  • Approximately 26 infants die every year from dangerous cribs
  • In 2006, Toyota recalled over 1.4 million vehicles because of defective parts

In a product liability lawsuit, your personal injury attorney can identify all parties in the chain of distribution (the path from the manufacturer to consumer). The chain begins with the manufacturer, which can be a large corporation or a small business. If the defective product is part of a larger product, there may be a separate manufacturer of the defective part. You would have a potential claim against both manufacturers – the maker of the part and the maker of the larger product.

Next, the retailer may be liable for selling a defective product. Even if you were not the original purchaser, or if you were not the product user, the retailer is still potentially liable for your injuries. There are also so-called “middle men,” such as wholesalers, suppliers and distributors in the chain of distribution who may be responsible as well.

Identifying all the potentially liable parties in a product liability claim can be like navigating a maze. Taking the time to do so will increase your chances of a full financial recovery.

Have you suffered injuries from a defective or dangerous product?

Colson Hicks Eidson – Florida attorneys