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Product Liability

Crystal Lake Product Liability Lawyers

Attorneys Serving McHenry County & the Surrounding Areas

When you purchase a product, whether it’s a small item from a retail chain or a large-ticket item like a car or recreational vehicle, you expect that the product has been carefully designed, manufactured and tested and is safe for its intended use. When that turns out not to be true and you are injured or lose a loved one because of a faulty or harmful product, you may be entitled to compensation.

Types of Product Liability Claims

Negligence in Product Liability Cases

In Illinois, there are two possible approaches to a product liability claim. One is a negligence claim, which is similar to any other personal injury claim. In a negligence suit, the injured party will have to prove that:

  • the defendant had a duty of care
  • the defendant breached the duty, and
  • by breaching the duty, the defendant caused the plaintiff’s injuries

However, most product liability claims are litigated since strict liability, or a combination of strict liability and negligence claims.

Strict Liability in Product Defect Cases

In simple terms, “strict liability” means that the manufacturer and others in the distribution chain can be held responsible for harm caused by a defective product, even in the absence of negligence. This liability may extend to parties such as:

  • The manufacturer of the product
  • The manufacturer of a faulty component in the product
  • The wholesaler that distributes the product to the retailer
  • The retailer who sells the product to the consumer

Strict liability applies to products that are defective in one or more of three ways:

  • Defective design: an injured party may have a defective design claim when a design flaw causes the injury, even if the designer exercised due care in researching and creating the design
  • Defective manufacturing: a defective manufacturing claim arises when the materials used in manufacturing the product or the manner in which it is manufactured creates a weakness that wasn’t present in the design, or aggravates a design flaw
  • Failure to warn / improper labeling: an injured person may be entitled to recover under a failure to warn claim even if there was nothing inherently wrong with the product, if the product may be dangerous under certain circumstances and the company fails to make the risk clear

Common Defective Product Claims

While any type of product can be dangerous if designed or manufactured improperly, or if it is used other than as intended, a few product categories account for a large percentage of product liability claims. These include:

  • Automobiles and automotive parts
  • Medical devices
  • Medications
  • Tools and maintenance equipment
  • Toys

Some specific examples include:

  • An automobile designed in such a way that the gas tank explodes in low-speed collisions, or that it is susceptible to rolling over when making a sharp turn
  • A toy that has a detachable part that could be a choking hazard for young children, but is not labeled with age restrictions
  • A medication that can be fatal to people with certain underlying medical conditions, but which does not publish warnings on the package or communicate the dangers to prescribing physicians
  • A power tool designed without a safety guard, or with a safety guard manufactured from weak materials or improperly attached

Protect Your Rights after a Product-Related Injury

The word “accident” can be misleading. Often, a car accident, work injury, or even household mishap results from someone else’s negligence, or from a flaw in the design or manufacture of a product. If you’ve been injured using heavy equipment or power tools, after brakes failed or an airbag deployed incorrectly while you were driving, or in any manner that may be attributable to the product, you owe it to yourself to learn more about your rights.

The manufacturer of a faulty product, the retailer who sold it to you, and others in the chain may be responsible for your injuries even if they didn’t know the product was defective.

Talk to an Experienced Product Liability Lawyer

The best way to find out whether you have a viable product liability claim is to talk to an attorney who knows Illinois product liability law and has experience handling similar claims. Schedule a free consultation right now to learn more about your rights and options.