By Zayouna Law Firm

Faulty Product & Product Liability - Zayouna Law Firm

What is a product liability claim?

When you buy something, it’s natural to expect it to work as described — effectively and safely. It is your right as a consumer to only be sold products that have passed rigorous safety standards before going to market. Defective products can still make their way into customers’ hands, to disastrous consequences.

Product Liability Damages

From food and beverage, to pharmaceutical drugs, household appliances, tools, children’s toys, vehicles, and more, we buy and use various products every day. In purchasing these, we pay for the right to use them safely.

Even when products come with inherent risks, manufacturers are obliged to minimize these before bringing them to market, and then communicate said potential risks to customers. These requirements are outlined in the Consumer Protection Act and the Canadian Consumer Product Safety Act. When a manufacturer fails to ensure these consumer protections, they can be held liable for harm caused to customers who followed a product’s proper uses.

Proving Negligence in a Product Liability Claim

If the use of a product causes injury or harm, manufacturers often attempt to counter with allegations that a product was not used properly or as intended, shifting the blame to consumers. To prove a manufacturer’s negligence, a product liability claim must prove:

  • The product was defective or unsafe
  • You were injured as a direct result of using the product
  • The manufacturer or distributor was negligent, or should have known about the defect and taken steps to prevent harm.

Compensation for Product Liability

You should not suffer for a manufacturer’s negligence and be harmed by a faulty product. A product liability claim can provide compensation to aid in your recovery and in restoring your quality of life, as well as other current and future losses:

  • Medical expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost income and future earning capacity
  • Punitive damages from proven recklessness.

Cause for Product Liability

It is impossible to use a product safely and effectively when it has been defective and harmful from the beginning. Your product liability claim is viable if it falls under these common grounds for negligence, and directly results in injury and harm:

Types of Product Liability

  • Defective Design: Faulty products can arise from defective designs. While many design flaws are addressed during multiple reviews and tests, certain flaws can persist and are negligently adopted during manufacturing.
  • Manufacturing Defects: Even with foolproof designs, machine or human error and other manufacturing challenges can arise, resulting in product defects that cause harm to customers.
  • Failure to Warn: Many products, such as pharmaceutical drugs, come with inherent risks. Manufacturers are obliged to minimize these as much as possible, and warn customers of potential hazards. Without proper warnings, such as clear labels, manufacturers can be held liable for resulting injuries.
  • Failure to Inspect or Test: Many product defects are caught with rigorous testing, which is integral to the design and manufacturing process. Manufacturers can be held liable when products are not thoroughly tested or inspected before sale.

Common Injuries from Faulty Products

  • Cuts, scrapes, bruises, and burns
  • Difficulty breathing from suffocation, choking, asphyxiation, or strangling
  • Internal injuries, including fractures, internal bleeding, and injuries to an organ
  • Allergic reaction, including anaphylaxis
  • Poisoning
  • Loss of sight or hearing
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Convulsions, and more.

Depending on the product and its defect, it may cause either minor or serious injuries requiring treatment, as well as illness, and short-term or long-term disability. A product liability claim could provide rightful compensation if you or a loved one suffered these harmful effects.

Product Liability Claim FAQs

What should I do if a faulty product injured me?

The first step is to seek medical attention for your injuries to prevent further complications and fatal effects. Then, make sure to document the entire incident and its effects. Take photos of the faulty product, the aftermath, and your injuries, and compile your medical records and product information. Note that you only have a limited time to pursue a product liability claim, so it’s important to compile these documents right away.

How long do I have to file a product liability claim?

The statute of limitations on product liability is two years from the date that a product causes injury. Given this limited period, it is best to speak with a personal injury lawyer right away to gather proof, notify at-fault parties, and commence your claim.

Can manufacturers mitigate liability?

It’s common for manufacturers to contractually limit their liability exposure. They commonly do this through sales contracts that explicitly state the extent of their obligations and release them from certain hazards and liabilities, which customers must agree to at the time of purchase.

Can I file a product liability claim against a non-Canadian company?

Yes, Canadian courts typically assume jurisdiction even when the manufacturer is not incorporated in Canada. Generally, courts agree that when products are released to the public, manufacturers should have reasonably foreseen that these are purchased or used across different markets and territories.

Which Canadian laws protect consumers from faulty products?

The Consumer Protection Act and the Canadian Consumer Product Safety Act are key legislations that protect consumers’ rights against defective products.

The Consumer Protection Act applies to new products and outlines safety laws that require vendors to ensure that these meet safety standards. 

The Canadian Consumer Product Safety Act requires manufacturers to report safety incidents and defects; inform Health Canada of the supplier’s name and the timeframe of manufacturing and sale; provide safety information to consumers regarding use of the product; and ensure accuracy in packaging, labeling, and advertising in regards to product safety. Any violation of these safety standards can serve as grounds for product liability.