DEFECTIVE PRODUCTS: Rights & Remedies for Injuries, Damages or Death
Many states, including Connecticut, have laws that spell out under what circumstances someone who suffers an injury or sustains damage to property may assert a product liability claim. The Connecticut statute provides that “A product liability claim…may be asserted and shall be in lieu of all other claims against product sellers…for harm caused by a product.” Pursuant to the Connecticut products liability statutes, a product liability claim includes all claims for personal injury, death or property damage caused by the manufacture, construction, design, formula, preparation, assembly, installation, testing, warnings, instructions, marketing, packaging or labeling of any product. A product seller is broadly defined as any person or entity engaged in the business of selling products, and the claims can be brought by those suffering injury or damages even where the claimant did not buy the product from the product seller. If the injuries caused by the defective product result in death, the representative of the estate of the decedent can bring a wrongful death lawsuit based on a products liability cause of action.
If the product which causes the harm has been altered or modified, the product seller may have defenses to the action unless the claimant can show that the alteration or modification was done: in accordance with the instructions or specifications of the seller; with the consent of the seller; or was the result of conduct that the seller should have anticipated.
Even where a product is not defective in the manufacture or design, the lack of proper warnings or instructions can lead to liability for harm to a claimant who proves that if adequate warnings or instructions had been provided, the claimant would not have suffered the harm. To prove a product liability claim based on a failure to warn, relevant factors include: the likelihood that the product would cause the harm suffered; the ability to anticipate the potential risk and harm at the time of manufacture; and the feasibility and cost of the warnings and instructions.
Product liability actions are governed by a complex set of laws that define when, under what circumstances and against whom a lawsuit can be maintained for harm caused by a product. Any person who suffers harm due to a product is well advised to seek assistance from an attorney knowledgeable in products liability laws in order to assure maximum recovery from all possible sources.