Product Liability is the legal liability a manufacturer, supplier, distributor or retailer incurs for producing or selling a faulty product. In cases where a personal injury has been caused by a potentially faulty product, it may possible to bring a claim for compensation against the manufacturer, suppliers, distributors or retailers of the product under the Consumer Protection Act 1987. Under this Act, a product is defective if the safety of the product is not such as persons generally are entitled to expect.
When determining for the purposes of what a person is generally entitled to expect, all the circumstances shall be taken into account, including: the manner in which and the purposes for which the product has been marketed; the use of any mark in relation to the product and any instructions for, or warnings with respect to, doing or refraining from doing anything with or in relation to the product; what might reasonably be expected to be done with or in relation to the product and the time when the product was supplied by its producer to another.
Consumers affected by a faulty product can also bring a claim of breach of contract against the supplier, distributor or retailer of the product under the Consumer Rights Act 2015.
Some examples of potential product liability claims are:
In order to succeed with a claim under the Consumer Protection Act 1987, you will need to prove that:
At Hodge Jones & Allen we will arrange a FREE consultation to discuss what has happened and assess the best way to help you. We will establish who is legally liable for the faulty product and notify the manufacturer, supplier, distributor or retailer of the claim. We will then obtain the necessary evidence to prove your claim and secure the compensation you are entitled to.
For adults and those with mental capacity, Court proceedings must be issued within 3 years of the date of injury/damage or, if later, three years from the date of knowledge (when you found out that the injury sustained was caused by a defective product), or the right to claim is extinguished.
The Limitation Act 1980 also introduces a 10 year longstop rule which requires that Court proceedings for claims for personal injury caused by a defective product, brought under the Consumer Protection Act 1987, must be issued within 10 years from the date that the product was put into market circulation.
Personal injury compensation is assessed by two types of compensation:
Is compensation for the pain, suffering and loss of amenity you have suffered as a result of the faulty product. We will collate the medical and supporting evidence to prove this part of your claim.
Is the compensation for the past and future financial losses such as loss of earnings, travel expenses, medical expenses and care and assistance you require as a result of the injury.
At Hodge, Jones & Allen, we can operate on a ‘No Win No Fee’ basis for a product liability claim. This means that you won’t have to pay our fees up front, After the Event Insurance (ATE) will cover you for any adverse costs, in the event your claim is unsuccessful. This type of insurance policy will step in to protect you against your opponent’s costs and our disbursements required for the case, in the event you lose your claim.
Alternatively, you may have Legal Expenses Insurance (LEI) attached to your insurance policy with your motor, home or travel insurance which you can use to fund a claim. Get in touch
Product liability claims can be very expensive to run and in some cases bringing claims individually would not be a practical as the costs likely to be incurred would exceed the potential damages sought. When a group of people are affected by the same issue, it is becoming more and more common to bring the claims collectively as part of a group action, also known as a multi-party action. It is often daunting for individuals to bring a well resourced multi-national corporation.
There are many advantages for an individual to join a group action. By acting as one large group, the risks and costs associated with the litigation is spread out between all the Claimants and their legal representatives. Knowledge and expertise between the legal representatives can also be shared.
Working collectively in a group action also means there is strength in numbers. There can be hundreds and even thousands affected by the same issue. It can be comforting for individuals to be amongst others who have also been affected by the same issue. It also creates a level playing field when litigating against a large corporation.
Within a group action, compensation for each claimant is dealt with on a case by case basis. Some individuals may have a modest claim which may not justify the legal fees which are likely to be incurred. However, by being part of the group action, it enables those who may have a smaller claim to also claim the compensation they deserve.
One of the largest multi-party product liability claims against GlaxoSmithKline for serious neurological injury (narcolepsy) caused by the 2009-10 pandemic swine flu vaccine.
Frequently Asked Questions
Although a waiver is legal, it is misleading. An organiser or business owner cannot exclude or restrict liability for personal injury or death caused by negligence. This is set out in the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977. Businesses and suppliers of products must comply with the various sections of this Act.
You have three years from the date the defected medical product was inserted, or from when you first believed your suffering was caused by the product, to make a claim. However there are exceptions to the rule.
There is also a 10 year long-stop limitation rule under the Consumer Protection Act, this starts from the date the product went into market circulation. If the product is older than this, even if it is within the three years’ limit, you will be statute barred from making a claim.
A specialist solicitor will investigate to try and find out who the manufacturer of the product is. If there are unable to do so, you may still be able to claim against the company you purchased the product from if their business’s name is on the product, the business repairs, refurbishes or changes a product and if they cannot the product’s manufacturer, or the manufacturer has gone out of business.
You could also bring a claim of breach of contact against the company that sold you the product under the Consumer Rights Act 2015.
View all Frequently Asked Questions.
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