Product Liability Essay
See also our Out-Law Guide to Product Liability for negligence.
Liability under Part I of the CPA The CPA introduced statutory liability for defective products.
The manufacturer's negligence may be: Liability is not limited to the manufacturer of the product – other parties who supplied components or distributed the product may be held liable if they can be shown to have been negligent.
Limitations on negligence liability Despite the significance of negligence liability, it is subject to a number of limitations which may restrict its effectiveness in product liability claims.
A claim may be brought for death, personal injury or damage to private property in excess of £275.
However, no claim may be brought for damage to business property or for 'pure' economic losses.
In cases like this, it may be difficult for the manufacturer to avoid liability unless it can show how the defect occurred.
The manufacturer will have to show that it took reasonable care to establish a safe system of production and quality control to avoid defects, and that the employees who implemented that system took reasonable care when doing so.
A claim may be brought by a consumer-purchaser of the product, a person who uses the product or a third party bystander who is injured by the product.In particular, the CPA provides that a claim cannot be made for the loss of or damage to the defective product itself.Other than these restrictions, the CPA imposes no financial limit on the producer's total liability. Under the CPA, the 'producer' of a product is liable for any defects.The courts may be reluctant to impose liability for negligent design as this would involve 'second guessing' executive decisions on the relative cost and benefit of different design options.A second difficulty faces the injured party is the need to establish a causal link between the defendant's negligence and his own loss or injury.The inclusion of 'products used at a place of work' extends the scope of the law to include sales of products between businesses rather than just sales to consumers if such products are used in a place of work.A claim may be brought under the CPA by any person who is injured by a 'defective product', regardless of whether that person purchased the product.Liability for negligence A claim in negligence is based on the assumption that the manufacturer owes a duty of care to all those who can reasonably be expected to make use of its product.In the case of 'dangerous' products such as those which, if defective, could cause extensive harm this duty may be owed to anybody who may reasonably be affected by a defect in the product.It is merely necessary to prove that the product was defective, and that any injury or damage was most likely caused by the product.Applicability The CPA applies to all consumer products and products used at a place of work.