Product Defect Accident Claims

The manufacturers of a product have a duty of responsibility to ensure the safety of the product’s users.

As the number of goods imported and exported around the world rises, so too do the number of potential accident claims for compensation for personal injury caused by a defective product.

Who Is Responsible?

Consumers within the UK are guarded by the 1987 Consumer Protection Act, which stipulates that if a product causes a personal injury, which is not due to misuse of the product, then responsibility lies with the manufacturer or retailer.

This includes provisions for the injured party to make a claim for compensation even if they did not actually buy the product in question.

In order to make a successful compensation claim you will need to:

  • Prove your injury was caused directly by the defective product
  • Begin your compensation claim within 3 years of the injury being caused
  • Keep any receipts for the product, as well as the contact details of witnesses if appropriate

Common Defective Product Accident Claims

Claims for personal injury as a result of product defects commonly cover burns caused by defective hair styling equipment, rashes or irritations caused by faulty cosmetic products and electrical shocks received from defective appliances.

In recent years there have also been thousands of cases of rashes and burns caused by sofas manufactured in China which had been treated with a harmful chemical agent to prevent mould.

Since this came to light, thousands of people have made successful personal injury claims.

Defending a Product Defect Accident Claim

If you are a distributor being sued for a product defect, you may not be liable if you can trace the original manufacturer.

If you are the producer of a defective product and you do not accept liability, you will need to be able to prove one of the following arguments:

  • You did not supply the defective product. This could apply if the product was stolen, or the defective product was a fake
  • It is unreasonable that you could have been expected to find the defect
  • The defect occurred as a result of following other laws
  • The defect was caused by another party after you had supplied the product
  • The product was a private gift, and not sold through a business
  • You only supply components for products, and the fault lies with the manufacturer who ordered or assembled the components

If the defect occurred through misuse of the product, the victim may still be able to make a claim. However, their responsibility for the injury will be judged as a percentage, and this will reduce the amount of damages awarded.