As with so many legal questions, the answer to the question “Who is liable if you are injured by a defective product?” is “It depends.” When bringing a product liability claim, those that involve injury caused by a defective product, there are many different parties that may be held liable. In fact, any party that is found within the distribution chain of the dangerous product has the potential to be held liable. Generally speaking, naming all potentially liable parties in a product liability case is the best way to go. This means that you will likely want to name all parties within the product’s distribution chain as defendants in your product liability case. The distribution chain is the way the product moves from the design phase to manufacturing and then to distribution to consumers.
At the beginning of the chain of distribution is the design phase. A design defect is one of the things that can make a product dangerous and thus lead to a product liability claim. If a flaw in the design of the product made the product dangerous and caused injury to a person, then the party responsible for the product design may be liable for any injuries that resulted from the defect. Also at the beginning of the chain of distribution is the manufacturing of the product. Even if a product is perfectly designed, flaws can still result from mistakes in the manufacturing process. The defects in the products made during manufacturing can lead to consumers being injured by the defect and bring about product liability claims. If the defective product is a part to a larger product, both the manufacturer of the smaller part and the larger product may possibly be liable for injuries caused by the defective product.
Parties involved in the marketing of a product may also be liable for injuries caused by a product defect. Product marketing may be linked to the product defect, exposing others to liability. In some cases, those responsible for marketing a product remain separate from those responsible for the design and manufacturing of the product. This is because product developers and creators often hire outside marketing consultants. These parties may also be liable for injuries caused by a defective product.
Retailers, wholesalers, and other distributors of the defective product may also be held responsible for the damage caused by a defective product. In some cases, the party who sold the defective product can be held responsible for injuries resulting from use of the dangerous product. In fact, you do not even have to be the buyer of the product to be able to pursue a recovery against a retailer for selling a defective product. There is still a chance that they will be held liable for your damages. Even the wholesalers and other distributors who act as the middlemen between product manufacturers and retail sellers may be held responsible for harm caused by a defective product. As all of these parties fall within the product chain of distribution, they all are potentially liable for injuries caused by the defective product.
As you can see, there are many possible parties that can be held liable for injuries caused by a defective product. In some cases, more than one party will be on the hook for paying you the compensation you deserve for the harm you have suffered due to a dangerously defective product. Consult with a knowledgeable defective products attorney to get informed about your legal rights to full and fair compensation.