DEFECTIVE PRODUCT LIABILITY CLAIMS - INJURY COMPENSATION SOLICITORS
Our specialist personal injury compensation solicitors offer free legal advice on defective product liability claims. Our solicitors use the no win no fee* scheme otherwise known as a conditional fee agreement. In the event that the legal claim is lost there is no charge made to the client. Our lawyers are members of the Solicitors Regulation Authority panel of personal injury experts and are able to deal confidently with personal injury compensation claims, most of which fall into a restricted number of classes which include:-
Defective Product Liability Categories
Almost all product liability compensation claims for personal injury caused by defective items fit into one of four main categories which are relevant to consumer goods, food products, biomedical devices and pharmaceutical drugs :-
Defective Design – this means that even though a product is manufactured properly and up to full specification, it is inherently dangerous because of an intrinsic flaw caused by inadequate design. This is a problem that often exists with biomedical devices.
Defective Manufacture – this problem occurs in the production process however inadequacies are usually recognised and the individual item is then removed prior to sale. Failure to achieve this objective is usually caused by a failure of quality control often due to the entire QC system being inadequate rather than isolated errors of application of the system thereby ensuring that numerous failed items pass inspection and are thereby made available to the public. This is mainly a problem that exists in consumer goods.
Defective Warnings – this situation occurs where a consumer has not been properly advised of any known dangers that may be associated with the product and as a result has not been able to exercise their own judgement as to whether or not to risk using the product, due to a lack of information. In addition to inadequate warnings there are situations where adequate warnings are minimised by a salesman thereby inducing a consumer to use a product that they might otherwise have rejected. This situation is a common factor in regards to legal action relating to pharmaceutical products.
Negligent Surveillance – sometimes defects and problems are discovered after a product has reached the market and are in the possession of a consumer. It is incumbent on manufacturers of defective products to warn customers about the subsequently discovered lack of safety often by national advertising which may also involve product recall. This is frequently seen in supermarket food product recall and the motor industry and has of late occurred with some dangerous IT products particularly fire risk batteries.
Product Liability Law
In the past, in order to claim compensation it was necessary for a compensation solicitor to prove that the manufacturers were at fault however the current legislation removes the need to prove negligence. In addition current law allows anyone who is injured by a defective product to make a claim whether or not the faulty goods (including food) were sold directly to them. The legislation covers almost all consumer goods and legal action can be taken against:-
- the "producer" which includes the manufacturer
- self branders
- importers from countries outside the EC
The major legislation covering this topic applies to the whole of the UK:-
- England and Wales - Consumer Protection Act 1987
- Scotland - Consumer Protection Act 1987
- Northern Ireland - Product Liability (Amendment) Act (Northern Ireland) 2001
Defective Product Definition
A defective product is one where the safety of the item is below that which consumers are entitled to expect, however this does not cover mere poor quality. Initially produced goods are not defective just because a safer version subsequently becomes available on the market. A court will, in deciding whether goods are defective in product liability claims consider all of the relevant circumstances including:-
- how the item was marketed
- the content of instructions or warnings that accompanied it
- the purpose for which it was supplied and may have been reasonably used
- when the item was supplied
There is other, older law that also affords consumers protection and legal action can be taken if goods purchased are not of ‘merchantable quality' or ‘satisfactory quality' or ‘reasonable quality' which means that products must be free of defects. Also goods must be fit for the purpose for which they were sold meaning that consumer products must have the requisite degree of safety.
Multi Party Action
Defective pharmaceutical drugs or bio-medical devices often give rise to thousands of potential product liability claims. It is not unusual for many victims to come together and take legal proceedings together in a 'multi-party action'. Individuals can pursue their own claim through the courts but a multi-party action is the most efficient and economic way of dealing with this type of claim as all of the common evidence goes before a single judge thereby ensuring that legal costs are diminished when compared with a large number of individual court actions.
UK Time Limits
The Limitation Act applies and the claim must either be settled or proceedings must have been issued in a Court of Law within three years of the incident. Anyone who has been injured by substandard consumer goods may be able to claim an insurance settlement. For free advice on no win no fee* claims just complete the contact form, or email our offices or use the helpline and a member of the Solicitors Regulation Authority panel of personal injury experts will telephone you with no obligation. If after speaking to us you decide to proceed no further then you are quite at liberty to do so and you will not be charged for our advice.
Personal Injury Solicitors
If you have been injured by substandard consumer goods (including food) or as a result of pharmaceutical drugs or a defective medical device then you may be able to claim an insurance settlement either individually or through a multi-party action. For free advice on no win no fee claims just use the helpline or email our offices and a member of the Solicitors Regulation Authority panel of personal injury experts will telephone you with no obligation. If after speaking to us you decide to proceed no further then you are quite at liberty to do so and you will not be charged for our initial advice.
*Terms and conditions may vary for certain high risk multi party actions.