Ottawa Lawyers Discuss Product Liability

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Who's Responsible for Product Defects? Ottawa Lawyers Weigh In

Buying a defective product is surely disappointing, but buying a defective product that causes harm is much worse. But who exactly is responsible for these defects? And when should you take legal action? In Ottawa, lawyers see many types of personal injury cases every year, including product liability. Here's what you should know about it:

What is product liability?

Product liability occurs when a manufacturer, vendor or distributor is held liable for any damage caused by their product. In Ottawa, lawyers and their clients may pursue legal action and seek compensation from any and all sellers of the product who are in the distribution chain. Product liability claims can be pursued individually or in a class action lawsuit.

Product liability is derived partially from common law and partially from legislation or statute. That means Ottawa lawyers can seek compensation using different causes of action. Under common law the causes of action would include negligence, including negligent design, failure to warn, etc. Under legislation, Ottawa lawyers could look at causes of action such as breach of implied conditions of merchantability and/or fitness for purpose.

What constitutes as product liability?

Product liability is, in fact, a very broad category that can apply to any of the millions of different personal and commercial products manufactured and sold everyday. However, there are three main types of product liability claims:
1. Defectively manufactured products, e.g. tainted food.
2. Defectively designed products, e.g. a brand of airbag that does not deploy properly.
3. Failure to provide adequate warning/instruction, e.g. medication that does not include listed side effects or suggested dosage.

What damages are available is product liability cases?

Not unlike other personal injury cases, there are two main categories of damages awarded for product liability, non-pecuniary and pecuniary. Non-pecuniary damages are intangible and are valued based solely using a judge's discretion. These include factors such as pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life. In Ottawa, lawyers may seek non-pecuniary damages of up to $330,000. Pecuniary damages are based on any financial losses incurred by the injured party as a result of the faulty product. These losses can be present or future, but usually need to be backed up by proof of purchase and/or expert evidence.

In Canada consumers purchase millions of products every day and chances are we will all come into contact with a faulty or defective product at some point in our lives. Should you ever have the unfortunate experience of a faulty product causing you harm, just know compensation is available.

For more information on product liability, contact Ottawa lawyers today.

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