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The Changing Face of Product Liability

by | Dec 22, 2020 | Firm News |

What happens when a faulty product causes serious injury? Who is to blame? 

Typically, the courts decide that the most negligent people pay the most in these types of cases. However, the exact execution of this principle tends to shift over time. 

What is product liability?

To understand this, it is important to have a basis in product liability. As explained on FindLaw, someone might be responsible for injuries a product causes if they were responsible for its: 

  • Design 
  • Manufacture 
  • Distribution 
  • Labeling 

In general, this could include a wide variety of factories, retailers and other parties involved in the supply chain. Of course, in a typical product liability claim, it is unlikely for any of these parties to volunteer to take responsibility. 

Who is liable?

As a case in point, there is a major ongoing lawsuit involving online purchases. As reported by the National Law Review, California courts recently issued a potentially important decision against one of the world’s largest e-commerce companies. 

The details of the case involve injuries from an exploding battery. The issue at stake for the retailer is whether there was enough involvement to warrant liability. The trial court thought not, but the appeals court reversed that decision. 

The next time a battery explodes or a product causes severe injury in another manner, will the courts hold online mega-retailers responsible? This type of question sometimes progresses through several levels of the court system before resolving. All one could say for sure is that, when someone is negligent and causes an injury, the courts are there to give the matter due consideration.