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Product Liability Claims

What is Product Liability?

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.

Types of product liability claims

Some examples of potential product liability claims are:

  • Injuries caused by defective medical devices.
  • Injuries caused by defective medical implants.
  • Injuries caused by defective medication/pharmaceutical drugs or vaccines.
  • Injuries caused by contaminated medical products.
  • Accidents or injuries caused by a defective vehicle.
  • Injuries caused by a defective piece of equipment or appliance.

How to make a product liability claim and what you need to prove

In order to succeed with a claim under the Consumer Protection Act 1987, you will need to prove that (1) the product was defective (2) you were injured and/or suffered a loss (3) there is a causal link between the defective product and the injury and/or the loss and (4) you were using the product as it was intended.

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.

Limitation periods to bring a claim

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.

What can I claim for?

Personal injury compensation is assessed by two types of compensation:

  • General damages 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.
  • Special damages 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.

Funding Product Liability claims

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.

Benefits of Group Action

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.

Why Hodge Jones & Allen?

Our product liability solicitors have obtained millions of pounds in compensation for our clients. Examples of our ongoing going cases include –

Pandemrix – 2009 -2010 swine flu vaccine
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.

Oculentis – defective intraocular lenses
Multi-party product liability claim against ophthalmic retailers, Oculentis Bv and Oculentis GmbH and other relating to injury and loss caused by defective intraocular lenses. The Claimants all had lens replacement surgery but their prosthetic lens has calcified due to contamination in the manufacturing process, resulting in the need for revision surgery or permanent loss of vision.

BIA-ALCL – breast implant litigation
Product liability claims for claimants with breast implant associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma.

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Phone:0800 437 0322
Fax:020 7388 2106
Address:Hodge Jones & Allen Solicitors
180 North Gower Street
London
NW1 2NB