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Are retailers liable for defective products?

Colburn Law

When a defective product causes harm, we often direct our frustration solely toward the manufacturers. However, we often overlook the potential complicity of other parties in the chain of distribution—including retailers.

The truth is that retailers, as the final link in this chain before products reach consumers, can also be held accountable for the dangers posed by defective items. For a retailer to be liable for a defective product, your case will need to meet specific criteria.

When Do You Have Grounds for a Product Liability Claim?

Product liability lawsuits provide a pathway to justice for victims of defective products. In a successful claim, injured people can recover compensation to pay for their medical needs, lost income, property damage, and pain and suffering.

However, specific types of defects are eligible for litigation. You may have grounds for a product liability claim if your case involves any of the following:

  • Design Defects: These are inherent flaws in a product’s design. For example, a children’s toy designed with small, easily detachable parts could pose a choking hazard.
  • Manufacturing Defects: These occur during the production process and result in a product that deviates from its intended design, such as a car missing a crucial part that leads to an accident.
  • Failure to Warn: This category includes products that lack necessary warnings or instructions, which leads to harm. For example, a medication that causes drowsiness but does not have an accompanying warning label would be considered defective.

When Is a Retailer Liable for a Defective Product?

Although manufacturers are often named in product liability lawsuits, retailers can also be held accountable for defective product injuries. For instance, if a retailer continues to sell a product despite knowing about its recall due to safety issues, they may be liable for any resulting harm.

Additionally, a retailer could be liable if they modify or repackage a product in a way that makes it unsafe, such as removing a safety seal or label from the product. Finally, selling a product without including the manufacturer’s safety guidelines or failing to convey warnings or instructions may also lead to a lawsuit.

How To Prove Liability In A Product Liability Lawsuit

How to Prove Liability in a Product Liability Lawsuit

To recover compensation in a defective product lawsuit, you will need to gather enough evidence to prove that the retailer is liable for your injury. Specifically, you must prove that the following elements are true:

  • You were using the product as the manufacturer intended.
  • The product was defective in its design, manufacturing, or warnings and instructions.
  • There is a direct causal link between the defect and the injury that you suffered.
  • You sustained actual damages due to the product defect, such as medical expenses.

These criteria can be difficult to prove without legal assistance. If you’ve been injured by a defective product and suspect retailer liability, an attorney can provide valuable insight into your case, gather critical evidence, and craft a compelling case to prove the elements above.

A Seattle product liability lawyer can not only help you understand your rights but also pursue the compensation and justice that you deserve. Contact an attorney as soon as possible to discuss your situation and explore your legal options.