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Who Can I Sue for Injuries Caused by a Defective Product?

Colburn Law

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Purchasing a defective product can be extremely dangerous. Depending on the nature of the defect, you can develop a product-related illness, suffer from severe injuries, and experience significant damage to your finances and well-being. In these situations, you can file a lawsuit against the parties responsible for the defect and your resulting injury — but who are the people or entities you can hold liable in this claim?

Determining the Product Defect

Before you can name the people or entities who may be responsible for your injuries, you will first need to determine if your case is eligible for a product liability claim. By identifying the cause of your injuries and the nature of the underlying defect, you can determine the role each party likely played in creating the dangerous product. If you have been injured by a defective product, contact a product liability lawyer in Seattle today. 

There are three main types of product defect claims.

  • Manufacturing defects: In these cases, an error in the factory line or at the manufacturing plant resulted in the product’s defect. For example, medicine tainted by a toxic substance before bottling or bicycle with improperly installed brakes are manufacturing defects.
  • Design defects: Sometimes, the issue with a product appears long before it makes its way to the factory floor. Products with a dangerous or hazardous design flaw can cause serious injury, such as a car engine that heats up too quickly or a toy for toddlers that contains sharp edges.
  • Failure to warn: It is the responsibility of a product manufacturer to place warnings on its products if there is an identifiable risk that can occur if the consumer uses the product in a certain way. Sometimes, the risk is not obvious to the consumer, and without that warning, he or she can suffer from severe injury. If the product does not have adequate warning labels or instructions for this risk, the resulting injury may be grounds for a claim.

Keep in mind that you do not have the be the owner, purchaser, or even primary user of the product to file a claim. If someone let you borrow his or her electric razor and you suffered an electric shock during use, you still have the right to file a lawsuit for your injuries even though you did not own the product.

Identifying Liable Parties in a Defective Product Lawsuit

In a product liability lawsuit, you have the right to file a claim against all parties involved in the chain of distribution for the defective product in question. The most common at-fault entities in defective product cases include the following.

  • The manufacturer of the product is often one of the at-fault parties in a defective product lawsuit, especially for defective design or manufacturing claims. Depending on the product in question, this manufacturer may be an individual or a large corporation. Sometimes, there are multiple manufacturers working on one product; you may hold one or all of these parties accountable, depending on your injury.
  • You can also hold the retailer who sold you the defective product accountable. Even though the retailer may not be directly responsible for creating the defect, you can hold this entity accountable because it still sold you a defective product.
  • Throughout the chain of distribution, the product that injured you may have moved between multiple wholesalers or distributors before reaching the retailer. You can hold these companies and individuals accountable in your lawsuit as well.

While the distribution line gives you a starting point, identifying these parties and the role they played in your injury can be very difficult. Your personal injury attorney can help you parse through each possible entity and determine who to name in your claim.

If you are suffering from the aftermath of a defective product injury in Washington state, legal options are available to you. When you do file your defective product lawsuit, it is imperative to contact a Seattle injury attorney as soon as possible — depending on the at-fault parties in your case, an attorney is a strong defense against multi-lawyer corporate legal teams. Contact your attorney as soon as possible following your injury to discuss your options and take your first steps toward compensation.