When an individual is injured by a product, recovery of damages may be possible through a products liability claim. Under this type of claim, manufacturers, sellers, or other suppliers of products are held liable to consumers who are harmed by those products. And in some cases, product liability claims may fall under the theory of strict liability.
In order to recover under a products liability claim, the plaintiff must show that the product was dangerous or defective. Generally, the law requires that products meet the ordinary expectations of consumers. When a product defect exists, those expectations are not met. A defective product is one that, at the time of its sale or distribution, contains a manufacturing defect, is defective in its design, or that has a marketing defect.
A manufacturing defect occurs when a product is not made according to its intended design. A design defect occurs when the foreseeable risks of harm posed by the product could have been reduced or eliminated by the adoption of a reasonable alternative design. A product contains a marketing defect when it has inadequate instructions or warnings and the foreseeable risk of harm could be reduced by the inclusion of reasonable instructions or warnings. Additionally, the omission of such instructions or warnings must cause the product to be unreasonably dangerous.
Pursuant to Illinois law, product liability claims are any action based on strict liability brought against the seller, manufacturer, or distributor of a product that causes personal injury. Under this type of claim, a defendant pays for harm caused by a product even though the defendant did not act intentionally or negligently. In other words, the defendant’s actions or behavior is not relevant to the determination of liability. Rather, for a strict liability claim, the plaintiff must show the following:
- 1. The injury resulted from a condition or defect of the product manufactured or sold by the defendant;
- 2. The condition or defect of the product was unreasonably dangerous; and
- 3. The condition or defect existed at the time that the product left the control of the manufacturer.
Product liability claims are commonly brought against the manufacturer of a product, but they may also be brought against:
- - Manufacturers of component parts that go into a product;
- - Parties that assemble or install a product;
- - Wholesalers;
- - Retail stores that sell a defective product to a consumer; or
- - Under Illinois law, anyone involved in the placement of a product into the stream of commerce.
Under the statute of limitations, product liability claims must be brought within two years of the date on which the plaintiff knew, or should have known through the use of reasonable diligence, of the personal injury.
Product liability claims can provide compensation for victims, while also holding those involved in the production and sale of defective products accountable. For more information about product liability claims, contact a dedicated Illinois personal injury attorney today. Our firm provides representation throughout the northwest suburbs, in the communities of Crystal Lake, Schaumburg, Palatine, Des Plaines, Rolling Meadows, Buffalo Grove, Barrington, Arlington Heights, Inverness, and Deer Park.
About the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.