How Does a Personal Injury Case Differ from a Product Liability Case?

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Product Liability by Nick Youngson, CC BY-SA 3.0, Alpha Stock Images, no changes.

Understanding these concepts can help you determine the best course of action in a particular scenario.

Given the breadth and depth of the law, it is quite common to confuse certain concepts. One area where this confusion arises is in the differences between a personal injury case and a product liability case. While both aspects of the law are primarily intended to secure compensation for one party for their injuries, they each take a different approach. Understanding the differences between these two aspects of the law will help you understand a situation better and determine your angle of approach. This is how a personal injury lawsuit differs from a product liability case:

Cause of action / feasible wrong

Before you can determine which approach to take, it is important to first identify your cause of action and there must be a right that has been violated by the defendant’s act. Your cause of action also determines the type of lawsuit you will file. A single case can have several causes. For example:

Scenario A.

Andre bought a brand new car. As he drove his new car, he found that the gears were not shifting properly, even when the car was under warranty.

In this scenario, the applicant’s plea in law is that the product sold to them was defective when it should not have been. In this case, the reason for the action is that the product was defective, which means that this is a product liability matter.

Scenario B.

Person holding an e-cigarette; Image courtesy of Lindsayfox via Pixabay, www.pixabay.com

Pedro bought an e-cigarette. While he was using the cigarette, the e-cigarette exploded due to a defect in the product, burning his face and causing disfigurement.

In this scenario, not only was the product faulty, but the fault also caused an injury to the applicant. In this case, since the defect in the product caused harm to the applicant, the matter is both a product liability issue and personal injury.

Claims for personal injury are subject to the law of negligence

The law of negligence is also known as the law of tort, whereby the object of the judicial process is to determine which party is at fault. This means that the applicant has to prove that the defendant acted negligently, which resulted in an injury to the applicant. In order for the claimant’s claim to be successful, the claimant must be able to prove that the defendant was negligent.

Product liability claims are subject to strict liability law

Strict product liability means that there are implicit guarantees for a product and that there are no defects in a product, even if these are not expressly expressed. Product liability claims essentially arise from breaches of warranties, and applicants do not need to demonstrate negligence. Applicants only need to demonstrate that the product was defective and that they used the defective product as it was intended to be used.

Understanding these concepts can help you determine the best course of action in a particular scenario. Even if you are pretty knowledgeable about the law, you still need help settling your personal injury. Always hire an attorney whenever you are involved in legal matters.