Any business supplying a product must make sure that it is safe and that it complies with the relevant statutory regulations. This applies to both producers (manufacturers and importers) and distributors (such as wholesalers and shops). Companies who ‘own-brand’ a product are also responsible for the product’s safety.
Safety regulations vary across different industries. Regulations regarding food manufacture, for example, are different to those governing cosmetics; appliances used in the home have different requirements to equipment used in industrial settings. A product is not considered to be defective solely on the basis of poor quality. Rather, in a claim, it must be shown to have most likely caused the loss, damage or injury because it does not meet the required safety standards expected of such a product.
Damage to your business
Selling an unsafe product can lead to either a civil or criminal prosecution, resulting in having to pay damages to those injured, a fine or even a criminal sanction. A product liability claim can also cause a loss of customer confidence and may cause damage to the brand.
Product liability claims can also involve your insurer. It is important to understand the relationship between the insurance you hold and any product liability claim that may be presented.
Defending a Claim
There are a number of defences that protect businesses who are facing a product liability claim:-
- You did not supply the product
- Someone else was responsible for the product becoming faulty
- It would be unreasonable to expect the fault to have been apparent at the time of manufacture
- The fault happened as a direct result of you complying with other legal obligations
- You only supplied the components and were not responsible for the final product
- The product was not supplied in the course of a business
We can also advise you on what action you can take about limiting the extent of your liability in the event that we consider a claim is likely to succeed.
Our Product Liability Experts
Neil Eaton and Sean Whitehall have considerable expertise in this area of law and head up all our litigation work concerning product liability. Contact them on 0121 236 1999 or via email at:-
For expert advice on dispute resolution, please call us in confidence on 0121 236 1999, email firstname.lastname@example.org or make an enquiry here.