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Understanding Product Liability Insurance

Updated February 23, 2023 | By Wilson Kehoe Winingham staff

What is Product Liability?

Product liability involves a manufacturer or seller being held liable after providing defective or harmful products to the hands of a consumer. There are various types of products, and a case can heavily depend on whether you can prove that the product either came with design flaws or was manufactured improperly. 

Sometimes a design is flawed, or other times, a design is flawless, but something went wrong with manufacturing.  According to the product liability law, a product liability tort can arise when 1) a manufacturing or design defect in the product causes injuries or harm to someone; or 2) a seller fails to properly package or warn a consumer of a condition that will be unreasonably dangerous. 

In a product liability case, you can recover for certain damages including bodily injury, death, medical expenses, lost income, property damage, as well as pain and suffering.  In certain extreme cases, punitive damages or damages designed to punish the defendant can also be recovered.   

All of these are encompassed within what we call a product liability claim. Due to the legal complexities of a product liability claim, you will want to start the process sooner rather than later by reaching out to our experienced attorneys at WKW. 

How to Prove a Product Liability Case

Liability for a product defect or inconsistency could rest with any party in the product’s overall distribution chain. This includes the product’s manufacturer, the company that manufactures parts or components for the main product, the party that assembles or installs the product in its entirety, the wholesaler, and even the retail store that houses and sells the finished product to the consumer. You can legally sue all businesses that are part of this chain.  

You can prove a product liability case by not only showcasing the product and its defectiveness but also by proving that the product was defective at the time of sale or distribution. It’s important you have some sort of proof that the defective product caused you direct damage. Examples of acceptable forms of proof would be medical records, photographs, or testimonies. Another piece to take into consideration is that in some cases you may need proof that the manufacturer had knowledge of the defect and distributed it regardless. It’s also important to show that you were using the product in question for its intended purpose.

What Can You Sue a Company For?

In a product liability case, a claim against a manufacturer, seller, and/or distributors can be brought for:

  • Design defects that were present before product creation
  • Manufacturing defects that happen during the manufacturing process.
  • Strict liability means a customer has gotten hurt or injured by a manufacturer’s product, even if the business owner isn’t found to be negligent.
  • Improper warning can occur if a business owner fails to give a customer a specific warning on the correct product usage. 

However, due to the difficulty and complexity of these cases,  reach out to the attorneys at WKW to see if you’re eligible for compensation.

What Sort of Claim Can I Bring?

The Indiana Product Liability Act (“IPLA”) governs all product liability claims whether based on negligence, strict liability, or another tort theory.  In general, strict liability applies to manufacturing claims while design and warning claims are governed by the negligence standard. These are two distinct legal theories so it is important that you speak to an attorney familiar with product liability law to evaluate which claim you should bring, if any.  The attorneys at WKW are experienced and available to assist with these types of claims. 

How Does Product Liability Insurance Protect The Consumer?

A business’ product liability insurance can protect the consumer by providing coverage for things such as:

  • Covering Legal Costs: The insurance can cover the costs of legal representation and any other expenses associated with the case, such as hiring expert witnesses or gathering evidence. This can help alleviate some of the financial burden to which you may be subjected.
  • Providing Compensation: If the case is successful, the insurance can provide you with compensation for any damages that you may have incurred as a result of the defective product. This can include medical expenses, lost wages, and other costs related to the injury.
  • Faster Resolution: Having insurance may lead to a faster resolution of the case as the insurance company may be more willing to settle the case out of court, rather than risk a costly trial.
  • Holding the Manufacturer Responsible: In some cases, the manufacturer of the product may not have the financial resources to compensate the plaintiff. However, with product liability insurance in place, the plaintiff can still be compensated for their injuries.

It’s worth noting that product liability insurance does not absolve a manufacturer from their responsibility to make safe products. It only helps to cover the costs of the damages in case something goes wrong and offers you, the consumer, potential compensation.

Are You Ready to File a Product Liability Claim?

Contact our team right away, and the experienced attorneys at WKW can help you through the complicated legal process of product liability claims. Call 317.689.0654 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation. 

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