Mississippi Product Liability Lawyer and Attorney for Defective Products
Products Liability refers to a manufacturer’s or seller’s tort liability for damages or injuries suffered by a buyer, user, or bystander as a result of a defective product. Liability can be based on theories of negligence, strict liability, or breach of warranty. Breach of warranty can involve breach of warranty of merchantability or breach of warranty of fitness for a particular purpose. In some instances the law allows for the imposition of strict liability for defective products. This liability is imposed whether or not the manufacturer or supplier exercised a due care. If there is a defect in the product that causes harm liability follows. Strict liability arises when the buyer proves that the goods where unreasonably dangerous and that (1) the seller was in the business of selling goods, (2) the goods were defective when they were in the seller’s hands, (3) the defect caused the plaintiff’s injury, and (4) the product was expected to and did reach the consumer without substantial change in condition. All parties in the chain of manufacture of the product may be held to account for its defect. This can include the manufacturer of component parts, the assembling manufacturer, the wholesaler, and the retail store owner. Recent enactments by the legislature have curbed, to some degree, the liability of a seller or dispenser in a products liability case. Recent federal enactments have made it more difficult to recover in medical device cases. There are essentially 3 kinds of product defects for which liability may be assigned: design defects, manufacturing defects, and marketing defects. A design defect is one that is inherent. That is, the product can be manufactured and marketed according to exact design standards but is defective due to its design. A manufacturing defect is one that occurs during the fabrication of the product. The product may be designed and marketed according to design standards but, due to a malfunction or other problem in manufacturing, the item is defective. In some instances, the entire lot of manufactured items can be defective. On the other hand, a manufacturing defect can appear in perhaps only one or a few items in the lot. Marketing defects concern the instructions given to the consumer. Marketing defects can involve improper or inappropriate instructions on assembly or usage, or failure to warn the consumer of hidden dangers in the product.
The law of products liability has its origin in a 1916 case decided by the New York Court of Appeals, MacPherson v. Buick Motor Company, 217 N.Y. 382, 111 N.E. 1050 (1916). In that case the New York court held that the manufacturer of any product capable of serious harm if incautiously made owed a duty of care in the design, inspection, and fabrication of the product. The court held that this duty is owed not only to the immediate purchaser but to all persons who might foreseeably come into contact with the product. Following that landmark case, every state has formed some body of products liability law. Every state has adopted in some form the Uniform Commercial Code, article 2 of which deals with implied and expressed warranties in the sales of goods. Otherwise, the greater body of law concerning products liability has been shaped and formed over decades of litigation.
Defective product cases are expensive to undertake. Expert witnesses are the key. Expert witnesses are required to even evaluate whether or not you have a good case. Expert witnesses are further required to participate throughout the litigation. These require significant resources. It is not uncommon for attorneys to join together to combine resources and experience to handle products liability cases.
Please contact us to arrange for a confidential consultation with informed Mississippi Defective Product Lawyers, and experienced Mississippi Defective Product Attorneys.