When a consumer is injured due to a defect in a product, multiple parties may be held responsible. Anyone in the supply chain for the defective product may be held liable, including the manufacturer, wholesaler and/or retail store where it was purchased. In New York, products liability claims are pursued in an effort to achieve financial relief for an injured party, though many consumers may not understand their full range of options.
Those who bring a products liability claim can do so under three general theories. The first is negligence, meaning that a party either acted in a way that caused the defect and subsequent harm, or failed to act to prevent it. The second is strict products liability, in which the injured party does not have to show that the seller was negligent, only that the product caused the injury. The last is called a breach of warranty and is a bit more complex.
When making a claim based on breach of warranty, it can involve either an express warranty or implied warranty. An express warranty is a warranty that is explicitly stated by a manufacturer or retailer -- these are frequently in written form and included in the packaging of a product, but can also apply to verbal warranties offered by potentially liable parties. An implied warranty refers to the idea that a product should be reasonably safe if it is used for its specific purpose. Some companies may try to deny these types of warranties, but it is important for consumers to seek advice on whether such denial is lawful.
Consumers in New York have a reasonable expectation that they will not be hurt when using a particular product. If they are, a products liability claim could result in an award of financial damages that may help the consumer or his or her family cover any expenses related to the product malfunction. Consumers deserve to know that this option may be available to them.
Source: FindLaw, "Product Liability Law FAQ", , Sept. 8, 2014