There is no federal law concerning defective products. However, each state has their own laws that hold the manufacturers of a product accountable if the product is faulty. If the product caused you injury or damaged your property, you can sue the manufacturer.
The manufacturer may not be the only party you can sue. In some cases, there was a flaw in the design of the product. In some cases, the company selling the product knew there was a defect and sold it anyway. As you can see, holding the right person or persons responsible could rest in many rungs of the manufacturing and distributing ladder.
Time Is Short
In Louisiana, a consumer has one year to file defective product damages suits. However, the law says that the clock begins when you first knew or should have known about the defect.
For example, say you bought a garden tiller in the winter months because the price was lower. You put the tiller in the tool shed to be used in the spring. When spring arrives, you retrieve the tiller and begin to till your garden according to the directions on the tiller, and the blade comes off and cuts you. It is reasonable that you would not have known about the defect in the winter months. So, the 1-year date of filing would begin on the date you began using the tiller.
Whose Fault Was It?
The law takes into consideration everyone who could be at fault. In our example, let’s say when you bought the tiller, you did not store it properly. Maybe you put heavy items on top of it. Maybe the instruction says to allow it time to warm up before you begin using it for the first time, and you did not let it warm up long enough. In that case, the judge may say the accident was 20% your fault and 80% the manufacturer’s fault. This means if you win a $100,000 judgment, it will be reduced by 20%, allowing you to collect $80,000. This is the percentage that is left after the judge declares you to be 20% at fault.
Louisiana does not follow an economic loss rule. In other words, you could sue, even if you were not hurt. This means if the only damage (in our example) was the tiller itself, you can sue for the price of the tiller. If the tiller defect caused damage to your property or yourself, you could sue for those damages too.
Examples Of Suing Others
Maybe the manufacture of the product discovered a defect that was dangerous. They immediately contacted the people they shipped the product too. Maybe the product was sold to a large retail chain.
If the retail chain received notice that there was a potential danger to anyone using this product, yet they neglected to remove the item from their shelves, they too are liable. If you or someone in your household was injured by the product and the store where you bought it was notified of the problem and sold it anyway, the store might be partly responsible for your damages.