Colburn Law

No Fees Unless We Win   206-919-3215

click for free consultation

Product Liability: Is It the Fault of the Manufacturer or Distributor?

Colburn Law

Product liability lawsuits arise when a consumer encounters a dangerous and defective product. A product defect can cause serious harm to customers, leading to severe injuries like broken bones and burns, as well as the development of serious illnesses like cancer.

By filing a lawsuit, victims of these dangerous products can recover financial compensation for their losses and hold the at-fault party or parties accountable. If you are injured by a defective product, you could name the manufacturer in your lawsuit, as well as the product’s distributor.

The Three Types of Product Defects

To file a product liability claim in Washington, you will need to prove that you were injured by at least one of three product defects: a design defect; a manufacturing defect; or a failure to warn or provide adequate instructions.

  • Design Defects: Manufacturers must ensure that their products are designed safely and do not pose harm to their consumers. However, some products have dangerous designs, such as a blow dryer that is prone to overheating or a toddler’s toy with small, detachable components. 
  • Manufacturing Defects: Even if a product has a safe design, errors can occur during the manufacturing process. The manufacturer will be liable for any injuries that arise due to these errors. Examples of manufacturing defects include a medication tainted by a toxic substance or circuitry that is incorrectly installed.
  • Failure to Warn: Manufacturers have a duty to provide adequate warnings and instructions to prevent consumers from harm. For example, say that a rechargeable battery may explode if left to charge overnight. The manufacturer must include this information in the product’s instructions. If it fails to uphold this duty, the customer could suffer from painful injuries like burns.

Liability for Dangerous and Defective Products 

Liability for Dangerous and Defective Products

Product liability claims fall under the theory of strict liability. According to this doctrine, manufacturers are always liable for any injuries that occur due to a product defect, regardless of prior knowledge or negligence. Liability may be waived if the consumer was misusing the product at the time of the injury. 

To secure compensation in a product liability lawsuit, you will need to prove the following four elements.

  • You were injured or suffered losses, such as property damage.
  • The product is defective in its design, manufacture, or warnings and instructions.
  • The product’s defect caused your injuries.
  • You were using the product as intended.

The manufacturer is not the only party who is strictly liable for defective product injuries. This responsibility lies with all parties within the chain of distribution, including the manufacturer, the vendor, and the distributor. In your lawsuit, you have the right to pursue a claim against all three parties.

Injured by a Defective Product? Speak to an Attorney

If you are harmed by a defective product, you may wonder what to do next. Filing a product liability claim can be difficult while recovering from an injury or illness, and you may struggle to gather the evidence necessary to prove the defect. In these situations, you need an attorney on your side.

A Washington product liability attorney can provide several important services, from representing you during negotiations to enlisting the help of experts and preparing a compelling case for the courtroom. As soon as possible following your injury, contact a lawyer to discuss your legal options and strategize your next steps.