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Product liability definition and types of product defects

Residents of New Orleans, Louisiana, are buying products in stores and numerous other locations day in and day out. Any product that is purchased could potentially be dangerous in one way or another. Some products are inherently dangerous, while others may be unexpectedly dangerous. When a dangerous product or defective product causes consumer injury or death, that injured party or his or her loved ones may be able to recover compensation. However, the ability to receive compensation hinges on the regulations set forth by products liability legislation.

Product liability is when a manufacturer or seller of a product is held liable for placing a product into the hands of the consumer that ultimately causes injury or death. Product liability is not covered by federal law but, rather, is covered by each state's set of legislation and laws. When a dangerous product is sold in the marketplace, there are any number of parties that can be held responsible, including the product manufacturer, a party that assembles the product, the manufacturer of product components, a wholesaler or a retail store that sold the product.

Not all injuries that result from a product will result in a successful product liability lawsuit. If a product is inherently dangerous, or not used for its intended purpose, and the consumer should have been aware of the existing dangers, then he or she will not likely recover any compensation. However, if the product is defective and results in an injury, then there may be the possibility for compensatory recovery.

The most common types of defects for which a consumer may be able to recover damages include: a design defect, a manufacturing defect or a marketing defect. A design defect exists from the outset of product production and there is an inherent danger in the design of the product. A manufacturing defect is a mistake that occurs during the manufacture of the product. A marketing defect occurs when a mistake is made in the way a product is marketed, such as poor warnings, incomplete instructions or poor labels.

As previously mentioned, the laws covering these types of defects, and the recovery that may be possible when they cause an injury or death varies by state. Therefore, it is generally a good idea for injured consumers or their loved ones to speak with a legal representative that is familiar with the laws that cover this type of harm.

Source: FindLaw, "What is Product Liability?," accessed on Sep. 1, 2014

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