Businesses which supply products to consumers must ensure that their products are safe. Product liability lies with the manufacturer of the product, but the distributor, such as a shop or wholesaler, also has a responsibility to ensure that the product is safe.
Businesses that fail to ensure the safety of products they supply can face serious consequences which may include fines or even imprisonment. Individuals who have been harmed by a business’ product can also sue the business for any injury or damage to their personal property which occurred as a result of using the product.
Those who suffer an injury due to a faulty product may be able to make a compensation claim. When an individual purchases a new product he or she expects that the product has undergone testing to ensure that it is fit for purpose, and safe to use. If an accident occurs, such as a chair collapsing under someone’s weight, or a piece of electrical equipment catching fire, then the individual is entitled to file a personal injury claim against the manufacturer or the shop that sold the product.
A product is considered defective if its safety is “not such as persons generally are entitled to expect”. A product would not be considered to be defective simply because a newer and safer version is later on the market.
Food items may also be dangerous. An individual who contracts food poisoning as a result of purchasing a food item that was not fit for human consumption may be entitled to submit a dangerous product compensation claim.
For an individual to be successful in a product liability claim, he or she will need to be able to prove that another individual was responsible for the injury or loss suffered. It is important to report the incident to the individual who is responsible for it as soon as possible. If possible, the accident should be recorded in an accident book and the names, addresses and statements of witnesses should be recorded. Taking a photograph of the faulty product is also advisable. Always keep the receipt for the faulty product as this may be required as evidence. If an individual intends to claim expenses such as travel expenses or prescription expenses, receipts should be kept as evidence.
It is important to get advice on your claim as soon as possible as there is a time limit on faulty product claims. This limit is three years, but starting the process as early as possible will mean that you are more likely to have all the details to hand. Although the basic limit is three years, damage might not be immediately apparent and so an alternative period of three years, dating from the time when the manufacturer could reasonably have known that the product was defective, may be used.
The amount of compensation that a claimant may receive will depend on the severity of the injury suffered. At Accident Advice Helpline we have a good record in product liability claims and will be able to provide a realistic estimate of the amount of compensation that may be received.