Product liability law, also called "products liability", governs the liability of manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors, and vendors for damages caused by dangerous or defective products. Product liability laws is to help protect consumers from dangerous products, while holding manufacturers, distributors, and retailers responsible for putting into the marketplace products that they knew or should have known were dangerous or defective. Depending upon the jurisdiction, the liability of the various parties involved as the product passes from the manufacturer to the consumer will vary.
Design Defects: Liability arises from a mistake or oversight in the design of a product, which makes it dangerous when used as intended, or when used for another reasonably foreseeable purpose.
Manufacturing Defects: Liability arises from a defect that results from the manufacturing process.
Marketing Defects: A marketing defect involves such issues as inadequate warning labels or instructions, which, for example, prevent a user from recognizing a defect in the product, or from being aware of how to safely use or apply the product.
The elements of what a plaintiff must prove to prevail in a product liability action will also vary with the jurisdiction. It may be possible for a plaintiff to pursue more than one theory of liability.
Negligence: In a negligence action, a Claimant must typically demonstrate that the parties responsible for placing the product into commerce had a duty to provide goods fit for their foreseeable uses, would have detected the defect with the exercise of reasonable care in the design, manufacture, or inspection process, failed to meet its obligations, and that the plaintiff was injured by the product as a result of the defect while engaged in a foreseeable use of the product.
Strict Liability: Under a strict liability standard, once a Claimant establishes that a product is defective, liability results from that fact alone no matter how much care was applied during design, manufacture, marketing, distribution and sale.
Breach of Warranty: A warranty is essentially a contract of fitness between a manufacturer or vendor and its customer. Under a breach of express warranty, a Claimant alleges a breach of the actual written warranty associated with a product. Under a breach of implied warranty, a Claimant alleges that although there is no express warranty or the defect alleged is not covered by the express warranty, a defect in the goods renders them unfit for the purpose intended.