If I am Hurt by a Defective Product, Who is Responsible?

defective airbag

If you or a loved one has been hurt by a faulty or defective product, you certainly want to see all at-fault parties held responsible for your injuries and losses.  But that leads to the question: which parties are potentially financially responsible for your losses?  Without a doubt, the manufacturer of the product can be held liable for injuries caused by a defective or faulty product assuming you prove your case. In addition, a component supplier can be held responsible. For instance, if you were involved in a motor vehicle accident and the airbag failed to deploy because it was defective, you could pursue both the manufacturer of your vehicle and the company that supplied the airbag system to the vehicle manufacturer.

Until tort reform legislation was enacted by the Tennessee General Assembly, the seller of the product was also typically included in a product liability lawsuit. However, the liability of a seller has been greatly reduced. After the tort reform legislation, in order to hold a seller responsible for placing a defective product in the stream of commerce, an injury victim must prove:

  1. The seller exercised substantial control over that aspect of the design, testing, manufacture, packaging or labeling of the product that caused the injury;
  2. The seller altered or modified the product and the alteration or modification was a substantial factor in causing the injury;
  3. The seller gave an express warranty;
  4. The manufacturer is not subject to service of process (This generally relates to overseas manufacturers)
  5. The manufacturer has been judicially declared insolvent i.e., bankrupt.

Each year, it seems the Tennessee General Assembly feels the need to enact higher hurdles for injury victims to cross in order to obtain the compensation they deserve because of faulty products.  In addition to tort reform changes, product liability claims are also subject to statutes of limitations and statutes of repose, both of which can prevent you from obtaining compensation if you fail to strictly comply with them.  Finally, if you fail to properly preserve the product that caused you harm, that failure can keep you from recovering compensation for your losses. 

As such, it is imperative for injury victims to hire a lawyer who is well-versed in Tennessee’s product liability laws.  For every year since 2007, Best Lawyers has named John Day as one of the best lawyers in the field of Products Liability Litigation. John has also been repeatedly asked to testify in front of the Tennessee General Assembly about the tort reform legislation, and he has written a book, Compendium of Tennessee Tort Reform Statutes and Related Case Law, which explains the changes to Tennessee law as a result of tort reform.  Before hiring any lawyer, including us, it is critical that you understand How to Select an Experienced Injury Lawyer.

If you would like to discuss your defective products liability claim and get a better understanding of your legal rights and legal options, please contact us online or call us for a free, no-obligation consultation. We will review your case with you, answer your questions and explain your legal options in clear terms. And because our award-winning attorneys handle all of our defective product cases on a contingency basis, we only get paid if we recover money for you. 

Nashville: 615-669-3993

Murfreesboro: 615-867-9900

Brentwood: 615-742-4880

Toll-Free: 866-812-8787

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