Every day, we all interact with thousands of products, and most of the time, we don’t spend a lot of time thinking about these interactions. But when something goes wrong and a product doesn’t function properly, it can result in serious injuries.
In many cases, when someone is injured because a consumer product fails to function properly, they may be able to obtain compensation through a product liability lawsuit.
What is the basis of a product liability claim?
In Canada, the designers, manufacturers and vendors of goods owe a duty of care to the end consumer of the product. This duty requires them to take all reasonable care to ensure that a product is not dangerous or unsafe. In certain circumstances, marketers could also be liable in negligence for the representations they make while promoting or advertising a product.
Provinces have also enacted legislation that protects the rights of consumers. In Ontario, the Sale of Goods Act sets out certain implied conditions for any contract of purchase and sale. These include an implied condition in most circumstances that goods are suitable for their intended purpose, and free from defects.
During the production process, errors can lead to a product falling below reasonable safety standards. Whether through poor standards at the manufacturing facility, or low quality inputs being used to save money, any number of things could lead to an unsafe product being sold to an end consumer.
Failures to properly test a product also fall under this category of negligence. A company is obligated to undertake appropriate safety testing. Failure to do so can result in unsafe or contaminated products reaching the market.
Defective or negligent design
Flaws or mistakes made in designing a product can make it inherently unsafe. Even if a product is manufactured perfectly and to the exact standards required, defective design can cause an unreasonable risk of injury.
This can be difficult to prove, and requires evidence that a viable alternative design would have been safer than the design chosen.
Failure to warn
Both the manufacturers and vendors that sell a product are obligated to communicate, whether through instructions, marketing or labels, any necessary information about how to safely use their product. A company can be negligent where it fails to provide proper instructions regarding how to use the product, or has inadequate labeling with respect to risks, side effects or other warnings.
Vendors and marketers can also be negligent if they make representations about the product that are not true. Consumers that are injured by a product may have a claim in negligence against these parties if they can show that they received incorrect or untrue information that led to their injuries.
Failure to warn claims most commonly arise in pharmaceutical, food and drink, and personal care product claims.
Skilled legal advice for victims of product liability injuries
At Fireman Steinmetz Daya LLP, we have over 110 years of cumulative experience litigating claims on behalf of accident victims, including individuals that have suffered product liability injuries. Our product liability lawyers specialize in claims arising from dangerous or defective vehicle safety features, household and consumer goods, and children’s products.
We provide free consultations for new clients to review your case and discuss potential options. Contact us online to make an appointment, or call our office at 416-967-9100.
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