Picture this. You just bought a household product which was on sale at a price too good to pass up. Let’s say in this instance it was a teapot. You take it out of the box to try it. There doesn’t seem to be any instructions or manuals but it’s a teapot so it should be quite straightforward to use. You put tea and hot water in it. When you pick it up, all of a sudden (and without you doing anything else other than just picking it up) the glass bottom breaks and accidentally pours hot water onto your hand or leg. As a result, you sustain severe burns which require you to go to the hospital.
This is just one of the defective product cases that our personal injury lawyers have been successful in.
If you find yourself in this situation or other similar situations with different products, you may be entitled to make a product liability claim and receive compensation for the injuries you sustained as a result of the defective product. There are a number of matters you should be aware of.
When is a product considered to be defective?
A product is considered defective if its purpose for usage is not what is generally expected of it or what it was marketed to be. While the facts of each case will be different, ultimately a court will be the one to decide when a product has a defect. Some factors that the court may take into account in its decision include:
- For what purpose is the product being marketed.
- The product’s packaging.
- The presence of an instruction manual for the use or assembly of the product.
- The time it was supplied and whether this could be relevant.
- Whether it was properly used or if any other external factors caused it to be defective.
Who may be liable for supplying a defective product?
Generally the manufacturer or distributor will be considered liable since that company is the one who supplied the product in trade or commerce. There are some factors that would make a company the manufacturer which can include:
- Holding itself out to the public as being the manufacturer.
- Makes or assembles the product.
- Imports the products here in Australia, if the actual maker is an overseas company.
- Uses its own brand name in relation to the product.
If there is a viable claim, what type of compensation can you possibly receive?
Once it is determined that there is a viable product liability claim, and depending on the severity of the injuries, the compensation received may include the following:
- The pain and suffering endured as a result of the injuries.
- Whether time off work had to be taken to recover from the injuries.
- Whether or not there is a capacity to continue to work.
- Past and future medical and treatment expenses.
- Whether substantial care and assistance was provided during recovery.
If you have been injured while using what appeared to be a defective product and would like more information on what you can do, please call us on 1800 462 359 or make an online enquiry for a free, no-obligation consultation.
Written by Erick Culala.
Erick Culala is a solicitor in Emily Harris’ Practice Group. Erick has worked on a variety of compensation matters involving product liability claims, public liability claims, motor vehicle accident claims, and workers compensation.