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A primer on what constitutes product liability

We are a society of consumers. We purchase goods to help ease problems or provide entertainment. No matter the purpose of a good, a consumer in Virginia and elsewhere believes that the product will work properly or as promised. Those that fail to do so could be defective. In some cases, this could simply mean that the product does not work at all. However, in other situations, this defect could cause the product to be dangerous, causing harm to a consumer.

What is product liability? In simple terms, this is placing responsibility on a party or parties for a defective or dangerous product. The party or parties are held accountable for placing a defective product into the hands of the consumer, causing him or her harm. As a result, the injured consumer is able to collect damages from the responsible party or parties.

With regard to a product defect, liability could lay with a range of parties that are within the product's chain of distribution. This could include the product manufacturer, the manufacturer of the component parts of the product, the party that assembles or installs the product, the wholesaler, or the retail store that sold the product to the consumer. The allocation of responsibility for a defect is also dependent on the type of defect in question. This could include a design, manufacturing, or marketing defect.

Harm caused by a defective product can be a very unexpected. Consumers are not only shocked by these incidents, but they are also often overwhelmed by the aftermath of it. The injuries and damages caused by a defective product can be severe, too. They can require an injured consumer to undergo intense medical treatment, even requiring surgery and rehabilitation. Thus, it is important to understand how a products liability action can be of help. This civil action seeks to hold a negligent designer, manufacturer, or retailer accountable for the defect. It also helps an injured consumer fight to recover compensation for the losses suffered.

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