If you were ever injured by using a product, you may have a valid products liability claim. It is important to understand what a successful products liability claim requires. The following will provide some helpful information regarding products liability claims in the state of Georgia.
What is a Products Liability Claim?
Generally speaking, a products liability claim is based on the theory that a party should be held accountable for manufacturing, designing, producing, selling, or reselling a defective product that causes injury to a person.
Types of Product Defects
In order to make a valid products liability claim, you will need to show that the product that caused your injury had some type of defect. There are three types of product defects:
- Manufacturing defects: A manufacturing defect is a defect that goes against a manufacturer’s intended design and makes a specific product unsafe for its intended use. An example of this would be a rat found in a can of soup. It is obvious that the manufacturer of the soup did not intend for there to be a rat in any of the soup cans. However, because the soup can no longer be used for its intended purpose, the manufacturer could be liable for this type of defect.
- Design defects: A design defect describes a product that was manufactured exactly according to the manufacturer’s design but is still for some reason inherently dangerous. An example of this would be a newly-manufactured brand of car that tips over when making sharp turns. The car was manufactured exactly as the manufacturer intended but is still very dangerous due to its design.
- Failure to warn/inadequate warnings: Products are required to have adequate warnings on them to alert consumers of certain risks or dangers that the product poses. If the manufacturer of a product provides inadequate warnings or fails to include warnings altogether, he can be liable if a consumer is injured after using the product. An example of this is an allergy medication that does not warn consumers that drowsiness will occur. If a consumer takes this medication and is injured while driving because the product did not warn her, the manufacturer may be liable for her injuries.
Required Elements of a Defective Products Claim
There are four elements that must be established to make a successful defective products claim in Georgia, which include the following:
- The product was defective at the time of the injury. You will need to show that at the time you were injured the product had some kind of aforementioned defect.
- The defect was the cause of the injury. This is important because the mere presence of a defect will not necessarily make a manufacturer liable for your injuries; rather, the defect in the product must have directly caused your injuries.
- The product was substantially the same when it caused the injury as it was when it left the manufacturer. This means that you will need to be able to prove that you in no way modified or altered the product after taking possession of it.
- The product was being used in a way that was reasonably foreseeable by the manufacturer. This is also an important element because Georgia product liability law has a modified comparative negligence element. This means that if you used the product in a way that was not intended by the manufacturer, you may be determined by the court to have contributed to your own injuries to some extent. Furthermore, a court will not allow you to recover anything from the manufacturer if it finds that you are at least 50% responsible for your own injuries because of your unforeseeable misuse of the product.