The idea that you might have a hard time identifying the at-fault party in a defective product case can seem surprising. After all, shouldn't the manufacturer bear fault for any damages arising from the defects of its products? There are several reasons in defective product law why there could be a challenge in naming the defendant. A defective product law office will usually look at these four issues before filing a claim or suit.
Modern supply chains frequently employ components from many parties besides the main manufacturer. The typical seatbelt in an automobile, for example, comes from a supplier that only manufactures components for bigger names in the business. If the defect arose from the supplier's manufacturing, there's a good chance the supplier will be the at-fault party.
The issue gets more complex if there are multiple suppliers. A defective product law office may have to track serial and order numbers to identify which batches came from which companies. Only then can the claimant determine which supplier might have been at fault.
One of the pains of this aspect of defective product law is that both the manufacturer and supplier may effectively say, "Not it!" The manufacturer might assert that the supplier failed to maintain quality control standards or used the wrong materials. Conversely, the supplier may argue that it did everything to the manufacturer's specifications without fail.
Businesses have strong incentives to not be at fault. They face reputation risks. Also, liability may mean increased insurance rates. Consequently, parties might try to lay the blame anywhere but themselves.
Defective product claims are often heavy with discovery. In law, discovery is the process where all the participants turn over all of the relevant information about the case. Given how heavily companies tend to document their design, testing, and manufacturing processes, there tend to be lots of discoverable materials.
The volume of discovery materials is a positive in terms of the opportunity to look for liability in the documents and data. However, it also makes the job labor-intensive. A defective product law office often employs numerous assistants to sort through discovery materials.
Finally, you may need expert testimony and reports to explain why a particular party is at fault. If a manufacturer states that it did analyses demonstrating a product's safety, you might need an expert to refute that claim. Similarly, your counsel may need to depose witnesses from the various companies to learn who knew what and when.
Contact a local defective product law office to learn more.Share