Our State has what is called the "Product Liability Act." This law imposes a duty on the manufacturer, distributor and seller of any product to make sure that it is not defective and dangerous. This law covers all products from mousetraps to implanted devices for the heart. Here are two examples from prior cases handled by Faulkner and Graves: A lawnmower, which did not have a guard over an opening, exposing the blade, was defective in a case when a child's toe was amputated. Recovery was made for losses resulting from a malfunctioning overhead garage door opener that started a fire.
Product liability claims often arise as a result of dangerous automobiles. Vehicles are required to be made, sold, and re-sold in safe condition. If the vehicle for whatever reason is dangerous, such as inadequate brakes or improper acceleration, then those in the chain of distribution are held accountable. For instance, in a prior case handled by our firm, the seller of a used car without seatbelts was found liable when a serious crash occurred.
Product liability law also applies to food that has been contaminated or contains a foreign object. Our laws make the seller of such food strictly liable when sickness or injury results. A basket of rancid fish sold to a restaurant and consumed causing serious but temporary illness to one of our clients. Under the law, the fishermen and restaurant owner were liable even though neither of them knew the fish were contaminated. Another client eating oyster soup poured from a can suffered dental injury when she bit into a pearl.
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