Product Liability Attorney Holding Manufacturers Accountable In Indiana
With any purchase made, we are forced to place an element of trust in the vendor. We must trust that the product we have received is what we asked for, accurately described and, most importantly, safe for us to use.
In some cases, however, products are not fit for their purpose. The Indiana Product Liability Act is legislation that governs what claims may be filed when a product injures someone.
What Is A Defective Product?
The Liability Act helps to define “defective products” in legal terms. Such a product is one which is in a condition:
- Not contemplated by reasonable persons among those considered expected users or consumers of the product; and
- That will be unreasonably dangerous to the expected user or consumer when used in reasonably expectable ways of handling or consumption.
In addition to producing and distributing a product defined as “defective,” suppliers and manufacturers can also be held accountable if inadequate information or details are given, known as a “failure to provide adequate warnings or instructions.” This designates a product as being defective if the seller fails to:
- Properly package or label the product to give reasonable warnings of danger about the product; or
- Give reasonably complete instructions on the proper use of the product;
when the seller, by exercising reasonable diligence, could have made such warnings or instructions available to the user or consumer.
It is important to note that some products are excluded from this area, such as those which cannot be made safe – e.g. guns or weapons – or those which are used in a manner not expected by the manufacturer.
What Can I Do If I Am Injured By A Defective Product?
In product liability cases, the first stage is always to identify who may be liable. This will usually be the company or person who sold the product if it can be proven that the seller or manufacturer was negligent, or failed to exercise reasonable care. The Act states that:
“…A person who sells, leases, or otherwise puts into the stream of commerce any product in a defective condition unreasonably dangerous to any user or consumer or to the user’s or consumer’s property is subject to liability for physical harm caused by that product to the user or consumer or to the user’s or consumer’s property if:
- That user or consumer is in the class of persons that the seller should reasonably foresee as being subject to the harm caused by the defective condition;
- The seller is engaged in the business of selling the product; and
- The product is expected to and does reach the user or consumer without substantial alteration in the condition in which the product is sold by the person sought to be held liable under this article.
If all three of these requirements are met, the seller of the product may be liable. Indiana does not permit strict liability cases to be brought against sellers unless it can be proven that they are also the manufacturer of the product or the part which is dangerous.
Will I Always Win In A Product Liability Case?
While product liability cases may seem easy to understand on the surface, Indiana laws are not very favorable to the injured party. There are defenses available to producers, sellers, and manufacturers, and you need to be prepared for them if you file a lawsuit.
The liability of the third party does not hold if they can prove that the user:
- Was aware of the defect
- Was aware the product was dangerous
- Decided to use the product even though they knew of the danger
The key defenses surrounding product liability cases place the burden on the user, but it is the responsibility of the defense to prove that the injury sustained was directly caused by misuse or an unauthorized adaptation, rather than another source. In addition, federal legislation threatens to reduce a victim’s rights of recovery as well. You need to consult an attorney experienced in these claims to provide you with an opinion.
How Much Time Do I Have?
As with any personal injury claim, there is a statute of limitations that applies to product liability cases. In Indiana, a lawsuit must be filed two years from the date the injury occurred. In addition, this must fall within 10 years of purchasing the product, unless the injury in question occurred at least eight years after buying the product. In this case, you will still have two years from the date of your injury, even if this takes you over the 10-year mark.
Bringing a product liability lawsuit to fruition can be a challenge, and you will need a legal eye with experience in the area to help you obtain the best results possible in your circumstance. Here at Hilbrich Law Firm, we have worked with consumers across the Highland area, helping them to understand their legal position, and advising them on the best next steps forward. Get in touch with us today at 219-444-4330, and let us take care of the hard work for you.