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Is purchase necessary to file a product liability case?

On Behalf of | Jul 5, 2023 | Products Liability

It is true that product liability cases usually involve consumers who purchase products directly from the retailer or distributor. However, these cases can also arise from other situations, such as leasing and servicing. So, a purchase is not a requisite for an individual to file a product liability lawsuit

Who can sue under the modern product liability law?

The law has definitely evolved and now provides more leniency with product liability actions. Unlike in the past, a person who suffers from injury from using a leased product can now file a case.

What should be present instead?

While the law provides suing rights to a broader population, not only purchasers, there are still requirements that a person has to meet to successfully file a product liability claim. This includes the following conditions:

  • The person filing the claim must demonstrate that the product was defective.
  • In a negligence claim, the claimant must prove that they were using the product as intended.
  • In an express breach of warranty claim, the claimant must prove their reliance on the seller, lessor or servicer’s representation of the product’s use and safety.
  • In an implied breach of warranty claim, the claimant must show that the product fails to function as it ordinarily would.

For example, a lease agreement contains an implied warranty that the leased products are fit for use at the time of the agreement. If the lessee proves that the leased product was defective and, as such, caused them injury, they can bring an action for product liability against the lessor.

Who can be liable?

Generally, those parties along the distribution chain can be responsible for injuries resulting from a product. This includes the product and parts manufacturers, architects and designers, retailers, distributors and lessors.

When we buy or lease a product, we put trust in all the parties involved in its distribution that the product will work as intended and is safe for use. But no matter how much assurance they give us, it comes in handy to know our right to file an action if the product turns out to be defective and causes injury.