You may have heard of product liability, but what exactly is it?

When you go to a store here in Springfield or go online to shop, you probably look around for a product that fits your needs and that doesn't break your wallet. You may assume that, since a particular product is available for sale, the company that made it tested it to ensure its safety.

Then you get it home, use it according to the directions and suffer a serious injury. This is where product liability comes into play. If the product was defective or dangerous due to its design or the manufacturing process, you could make this type of claim. In addition, if the product's labeling, marketing, safety warnings or instructions were inadequate or defective, you may have a product liability claim as well.

Who can you hold responsible for your injuries?

Once you purchased the product, it created a sort of contract between you and others. Numerous parties could be involved in that relationship, including the following:

  • The manufacturing company
  • The party that assembled the product
  • The company or companies that provide parts for the product
  • The wholesaler
  • The retailer

In order for the person selling the product to potentially have some legal liability for your injuries, sales must be a routine component of the business. For example, grocery stores, superstores and even small "mom and pop" stores routinely sell items. Your neighbor who had a garage sale does not routinely sell things.

It's necessary to note that some products are inherently dangerous. For instance, you can't make a knife any safer without it being unable to function as intended. However, manufacturers and suppliers of items of this nature must still provide safety warnings outlining the risks and dangers of particular products.

Proving someone is responsible for your injuries

In order to prevail in a product liability claim, you need to make sure that you identify the appropriate parties and show that you did not alter the product in any way not anticipated by the manufacturer. You may also need to show that you used the product for its intended use in accordance with the instructions. If you prove liability on the part of one or more parties, you must then show that you suffered damages as a result.

This may sound easy, but in reality, it can become quite a complex process. Not only could you face challenges as you attempt to prove that the defendant or defendant's negligence led to your injuries, but you must then provide evidence regarding the harm you suffered and the damages you request. You may benefit from discussing your situation with an Illinois attorney who can explain your rights and advise you of your legal options.

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