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Read more articles in: Blog, Dispute Resolution, Lorraine Walker

What happens if you need to make a product liability claim?

Everyone has experienced the frustration and inconvenience of a faulty product – a damaged item of clothing, a broken-down vehicle or a single-use household appliance.

It is an irritation that we could all do without – but what happens when a faulty product becomes a danger?

Certain products have the potential to cause more than annoyance when they malfunction due to manufacturer or supplier error. We have seen a wide variety of these cases, such as:

  • A cafetiere failing, causing severe burns
  • A defective swimming pool ladder causing a head injury to a child
  • A failed hernia repair due to faulty mesh

In all of these cases, the consequences of a faulty product have been far more serious than anyone might have imagined.

When these things happen, individuals and families can experience distress, injury, severe inconvenience and loss of earnings due to time away from work.

Due to the impact these events have, you may consider filing a product liability claim to pursue compensation when something goes seriously wrong with a defective product.

Understanding supply chain liability

Product liability claims are generally made by consumers against those in the supply chain who are responsible for the product, which may include manufacturers, suppliers and retailers.

Claims may be made under a number of circumstances which result in loss or injury to the consumer, including:

  • Manufacturing errors – If an error results from the manufacturing process, manufacturers may be held responsible for any consequences of the defect.
  • Insufficient warnings – Most items with the potential to cause harm must have full instructions for proper use and warnings about potential danger, or the retailer or manufacturer could be held responsible for defects.
  • Hidden concerns – Cases have arisen in which retailers have been made aware of defects but failed to pass this information adequately on to consumers, resulting in significant harm.
  • Design flaws – The retailer or design firm may be held responsible for harm caused by inherent design flaws that have not arisen due to manufacturing error.

Product liability claims are based in the Consumer Protection Act 1987, which state that a defective product constitutes one for which ‘the safety of the product is not such as persons generally are entitled to expect’.

This means that consumers are entitled to raise a dispute with any part of the supply chain if a product is defective in a way that affects safety.

Making and supporting a claim

To make a product liability claim, you’ll need to be able to prove that an injury or other serious outcome was caused by a defect in the product.

Claims must be made within three years of an accident or injury occurring.

To raise a claim, you should consider taking photographs and keeping a record of your purchase and use of the product to demonstrate that you were complying with any instructions provided.

If anyone witnessed the incident, their testimony can also be used to support your case.

Submitting a claim through a solicitor is the most effective way to ensure that your claim is solid and stands up to scrutiny.

Typically, you and your solicitor will write to the retailer or manufacturer to inform them that a claim will be submitted.

At this point, you might consider mediation or arbitration, or else you may file a claim in Court. Your solicitor will guide you on the evidence you need and how long a claim is likely to take.

We can help you by outlining your options and helping you to decide how you would like to proceed. Often, we can also take on claims on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis so that you don’t have to worry about funding legal costs upfront while seeking compensation for harm caused by product defects.

To speak to us about making a product liability claim, contact the Mander Hadley team today.

Mander Hadley

Mander Hadley Solicitors is not only a long established firm, but is vibrant and successful, with a forward thinking approach.