Product liability law is typically confusing because oftentimes it is difficult to know who is at fault for the failure of a product. In fact, it can be very challenging to determine who might be held liable for an injury as the result of a defective product.
In most product liability cases, it is necessary to file suits against multiple parties. Some of the possible defendants in a defective product claim include:
Manufacturer – A defective product can be produced by a manufacturer of any size. Regardless of how rigorous a quality control process is, something can still go wrong. Unfortunately, there may be more than one manufacturer who is responsible for a defective product if parts are created by multiple companies. Designers, marketing companies may also be included in a suit as can engineers and consultants if there is a possibility they may be responsible for a defect.
Retail outlet – Retail outlets may be included in a suit for distributing a defective product. In these cases, you do not have to be the person who purchased or used a product. In fact, injuries can be sustained when a third party is using a piece of equipment or even a product like an anti-histamine that a coworker had an adverse reaction to that ultimately resulted in you suffering an injury. Consignment and second hand shops may also be included in a suit if the product was purchased second-hand.
The middlemen – Oftentimes, products go through a chain of people between the manufacturing company and the retail company. There may be distributors, suppliers or even wholesalers who may be named a party to a product liability suit.
One reason it is important to identify all possible defendants is a portion of the law that covers liability. Suits can be filed using the legal doctrine “joint and several” liability. This means that each party is responsible for the defect on their own as well as a part of a larger group. When this occurs, one defendant who cannot pay a claim passes their liability onto the other members of the group. Alabama is a pure joint and several liability state which means the defendants who can afford to pay damages will have to pay them regardless of the level of liability they are found to have in regards to a defective product.
If you have been injured because of a defective product and are uncertain how to proceed with a product liability suit, contact Noel B. Leonard Attorney LLC for immediate assistance. With a full understanding of product liability law in Alabama, we can help you determine who you should sue for injuries as the result of a defective product.