Product Liability - Who Is To Be Held Accountable Throughout The Supply Chain?

product liability who is held accountable for defect through supply chain

Every now and then, we hear renowned multinational companies such as McDonald's, Toyota, Philip Morris, Remington, etc., being targeted and attacked for product liability cases by their customers and providing compensation to them for their actions. 

So what exactly is Product liability in the first place? Who is to be held accountable for it? Is the customer somehow to be blamed for it as well? To get into the nitty-gritty of this, continue reading this article on the responsibility for product defects. 

Product Liability 

Before we point fingers at any party, it is important to know what product liability is in the first place. Product liability refers to when the customer or the user of a particular product gets harmed due to the product that they purchased. 

The sellers and manufacturers are usually held accountable for this because they are the ones who place a defective product in the hands of the customers or on display. 

Types Of Damaged Products 

You cannot sue the seller or manufacturer of a product over minor damages or defects. There are different categories of damaged and defective goods that can bring about a product liability case. These have been mentioned down below. 

1. Some defects might be in the raw material of the product that you are using. For example, the fries that you eat at McDonald’s might be damaged because the procured potatoes were not of good quality. 

2. Some damages take place when the product is being manufactured. For example, while making the fries at McDonald’s, they might have used cheap quality oil to fry them or might have provided you with old ones. 

3. McDonald’s might have come out with a new flavor of ice cream but might not have advertised it properly. This involves the case of false advertising as well. Product liability and false advertising can often be linked together. 

Parties To Be Held Accountable 

At times, it can get quite confusing when you are deciding who is at fault if the customer is provided with a damaged or dangerous product. To clarify this confusion, it is important to know that anyone in the entire channel of distribution or supply chain can be held responsible for this. 

It also creates more problems for the plaintiff because they do not really know who is to be held accountable throughout the supply chain. However, the major culprits of product liability cases have been listed down below. 

● Provider of the raw material or components needed to put the product together. 

● The manufacturer of the product did not identify the problem with the raw material or component. They might have made a mistake while putting the components or parts together. 

● The marketing department for the false advertising of the product (if any). 

● The retail store did not try the product before keeping it with them. 

● The individual who sold the product to the end consumer without making them fully aware of the pros and cons of purchasing it. 

Market Share Liability 

This is an interesting concept and is confined to a few industries only, such as the pharmaceutical industry. In this case, the customer does not know or is unable to identify the seller of the damaged product or, in this case, the medicine that they bought. 

Due to this, the liability or penalty charges are distributed among all the players in the market. The amount a company pays for this would entirely depend on how much hold they have of the entire market and the number of sales that they make. 

While defending themselves, companies make use of this to a great extent. This is because they would then have to pay a reduced portion of the compensation that the customer has asked for. 

Privity Of Contract 

This is another very interesting law that checks to see who is to be blamed in the entire supply chain. Privity of the contract states that the customer would only be given compensation if they have bought the product directly from the manufacturer. 

If you got the product as a gift, then you were not directly involved with the seller or manufacturer. Due to this, you cannot press charges against that company. This is something that the defense lawyer tends to use the most in cases of product liability. 

Automotive Defects 

Often, we come across news talking about wrongful deaths or injuries of people through automotive defects. These revolve around all the defects that a car has. You might have lost your loved one to an auto defect, or you might have injured yourself. 

Every vehicle has to follow certain Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. If you have been targeted by any sort of negligence, in this case, your first resort needs to be to find an auto defect attorney in Connecticut

When Is The Customer At Fault? 

It is not always the company that is to be held responsible if you have been a victim of product liability. At times it is the customer's fault. Had it always been the seller's fault, we would not have heard the news about companies winning the cases of product liability. 

The customer could be at fault if they tampered with the product after purchasing it. Chances were, when you purchased the product in the first place, it was not dangerous to use. Let's take an example for this case. 

If you purchased a car a few years ago and got it checked by different mechanics or electricians, then you cannot press charges on the manufacturer of the car. This is because the mechanics and electricians tampered with your car, so they are to be held responsible for any damages that might be seen. 

Warning Signs 

In some cases, customers also forget to read the instructions that have been provided by the seller. They talk about all the warnings and hazards that they want you to stay away from. In this case, this is negligence on the customer's end. 

For example, if the product you are using is not to be kept in a heated environment and the warning signs are mentioned, but you did not care to read it, then your injury would be due to your own negligence. You cannot point fingers at the company you purchased it from. 

It can be quite difficult to identify who is at fault in the case of product liability because everyone would try to shift the blame and defend themselves. You have to tackle this case quite smartly to get the most out of the party at fault in the form of compensation.

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