Defective Product Injury Claim*

A myriad of injury causative factors can stem from the use of everyday products that a consumer uses. These products may include medical devices, dangerous toys, cars, and motor vehicles or any consumer and household products.

Industrial or construction machinery or equipment, as well as farm implements or defective car parts, can cause injury to a consumer. Household appliances may become defective and dangerous leading to fires or poisoning, and a consumer has legal protections in this regard.

Liability for Defective Products in Ireland

The liability for defective products in Ireland is categorized into four main laws; which are tort, contract, statute, and criminal law. This is a busy litigation area of Irish law that deals with the personal injury* sustained through the use of defective products. The failure of a product to provide the required consumer safety can arise from an inherent defect in the manufactured product.

What is a Defective Product ?

A product is defective if it fails to provide the safety which a person is entitled to expect, taking all circumstances into account, which includes the use to which the product was intended to be put to.

The Legislation

The statute that implements the law which protects the consumers from substandard products is known as the Liability for Defective Products Acts of 1991. Products that do not provide a required level of safety to the user thus causing injury or damage fall under the scope of this act. This law simplifies the process of litigation such that a litigant doesn’t need to prove that a manufacturer was negligent under the act.

Tort Law

If you have been injured as a result of the actions of someone else, you will have suffered what is termed a Tort, which is a civil wrong, which basically means you will have a right to recover damages for this wrong. Tort law is there to protect people from harm and injury and attach legal responsibility to anyone who causes the harm. In Tort law, an injured party has to prove fault and negligence. If a person suffers an injury due to negligence, they can initiate a personal injury* claim.

Contract Law

The effect of S.10 of the Sale of Goods Act, 1980, is that there is implied condition in consumers and manufacturers contracts, that the product or goods bought must be of ‘merchantible quality’.

This translates to mean that taking into account the products price, function purpose, and durability, a product must be fit for use as prescribed by the manufacturer. The Sale of Goods Act protects the consumer from being coaxed into buying a product due to the sales jargon depicted on its packaging, advertiser or any promotional media.

Criminal Law

For placing dangerous or unsafe products in the consumer’s hands, a manufacturer or retailer faces criminal charged under the general product safety regulations of 2004. Another EC Directive 2001/95, these regulations are the main piece of legislation that imposes criminal liability to producers for harmful and dangerous products.

In the instance that a defective product has caused injury to an individual, they should preserve it and keep any receipts or other proof of purchase. If these are unavailable, a simple note detailing the time and where the product was bought should be taken.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a faulty product ?

A product is defective if it fails to provide the safety which a person is entitled to expect, taking all circumstances into account, which includes the use to which the product was intended to be put to.

Can you take a case against a company for a defective product ?

Yes, if the product is defective, the person sustains an injury, and there is a causal connection between the defective product and the damage / injury to the person.

What is considered a manufacturing defect ?

This is answered above in the paragraphs.

Is product liability itself a law ?

The statutory law in this area is the 1991 Act mentioned above.

What is not covered by the Liability for Defective Products Act 1991 ?

In the U.S.A. there is the Consumer Product Safety Act and Improvement Act, but in the E.U. we have the European Union Product Safety Regulations 2004 which provides for criminal law sanctions for breaches of the regulations, and the Liability for Defective Products Act here is only for civil disputes between parties with no criminal law penalties.

How do I file a product liability claim* ?

After sending whats termed a letter of claim to the offending party withing one month of the date of the incident that caused the damages, the party makes an application to the Injuries Board who may or may not make an assessment. The Personal Injuries Assessment Board is a statutory body that carries out its own private, independent assessment of a persons personal injury* claim.

The Application Form A is the application form to the Injuries Board and must be completed and accompanied the application fee €45 or €90 depending on if the application is made online or via post together with a medical report from the persons doctor.

If any costs have been incurred, remember to attach receipts for any financial losses related to the personal injury* with the application to the Injuries Board. Include a copy of correspondence from the person you deem responsible for the injury, and send the application fee. The Board will write back to acknowledge receiving your documents and to give you your application number. If the Injuries Board do not deal with the matter, then legal proceedings to resolve the claim must be initiated.

What is the meaning of tort ?

If you have been injured as a result of the actions of someone else, you will have suffered what is termed a Tort, which is a civil wrong, which means you will have a right to seek a legal remedy for this wrong. Tort law is there to protect people from harm and injury and attach legal responsibility to anyone who causes the harm.

DISCLAIMER

Please be advised that the above-mentioned material is intended as an overview and as a broad out-line of the topic discussed. It should not be considered as complete and comprehensive legal advice, nor act as an appropriate substitute.
Due care has been taken in the publication of this article and we do not accept legal liability as a result of reliance on any material covered in the above article.

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