Injuries from hazardous or defective products can be especially troubling. Businesses that we trust to deliver our families products could be held liable if their products cause individuals harm.
the basis of products liability
In Virginia, products liability is based on two general topics: negligence and implied warranty. Any product that is inherently dangerous to consumer life or health can cause a company to be liable for injuries that resulted from the intended use of the product without consumer fault. For implied warranty, a company may be held liable for the sale of defective products, or for the sale of products that were manufactured properly but were sold without sufficient warning of danger.
Negligence can occur at many levels of the products manufacturing. Many times negligence arises from a design defect or flaw. For example, if a car is designed in such a way that leaves wires rubbing together close to a fuel tank, there is a possible (and perhaps probable) chance that the rubbing wires will create sparks that could ignite the fuel tank resulting in injury unforeseen to the operators of the vehicle.
An example of a breach of implied warranty could be a pair of sunglasses that do not protect eyes from UV rays. Because this is a common use for sunglasses, the manufacturer has a duty to consumers to warn them of the lack of UV ray protection. If they fail to warn consumers adequately, specific warranties may have been breached.
There are, however, limitations to the application of products liability. The plaintiff may not recover damages if the injury resulted from a misuse of the product unforeseen by the manufacturers. A plaintiff may also be prevented from recovering damages if a product’s defect is “known, visible, or obvious.”
specifics on products liability application
A product is said to be “unreasonably dangerous” if the assembly or manufacturing process was defective and created a danger, the design is unreasonably dangerous, or warnings for potential dangers of the product are inadequate.
The company will only be held liable for foreseeable injuries they failed to prevent. As stated previously, there is a limitation to recovering damages if the injury resulted from an unforeseeable or unanticipated use of the product. If the user modifies the product in a way that is unsuspected by the manufacturer, there will not be liability.
However, there are some changes that consumers make to products that may be foreseeable, and therefore will carry liability in some cases. For example, many Jeep owners purchase modifications from a third-party vendor. This is a known fact to Jeep, and therefore if the modifications are not the specific cause of injury, Jeep could be held liable for injuries resulting from defects in their design or manufacture of the vehicles.
Lastly, the company must know the product is dangerous and fulfill their duty to warn the consumers of any product hazard. If the danger is truly unknown to the company, there will be no liability. On the other hand, if the danger is known to the company but it is not obvious to a consumer, the company has a duty to warn of the danger.
recover damages you are owed
At MartinWren, P.C. our experienced legal team is dedicated to serving injured parties and their families in Charlottesville, Virginia. Residents in the Central Virginia and Northern Virginia area can contact our offices to set up a free consultation and evaluation of your personal injury case. Let our Virginia Product Liability Attorneys give you quality legal representation while you seek the damages you are owed. Call Robert Byrne at (434) 817-3100 for more information.