Product Liability: How Ottawa Law Firms Can Help

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In our consumerist society, shopping is a common occurrence. You bring home a new product assuming nothing is amiss, but sometimes that product may be defective or even dangerous. If you’re a victim of personal injury due to a malfunctioning product, you have the option to sue the manufacturer, distributor, or retailer – or possibly all three – for damages (money awarded). There are a few ways to approach this, and an Ottawa law firm will be able to help you start the process.

Suing by Basis of Contract Law

Based on provincial laws such as the Sale of Goods Act, a condition or warranty can be implied with the purchase of a product as long as that product is in good working condition – then a contract has been created between buyer and the vendor, distributor, manufacturer, or any combination of the three. If that product is defective, the contract has been breached and the consumer has the option to make a return or to sue. In many cases, an Ottawa law firm will be able to help you make the best decision.


If you were to make a claim for negligence, you would have to prove that the manufacturer, distributor, or retailer owed you a “duty of care” and that the product fell below the “standard of care” resulting in your injuries.

Negligence is a common way for consumers to proceed in product liability matters. The basis for these matters can be on the defective design of the product, the manufacturer’s defect, or a failure to inform the consumer of any risks.

Damages Available

When starting a personal injury claim, there are two categories that the damages fall under. Non-pecuniary, also referred to as general damages, is the compensation an injured party receives for loss of enjoyment of life. General damages are not based on invoices or bills related to the injury – your Ottawa law firm will assist you with creating the value and the final number will be ruled by a judge. There is a limit to how large a sum of damages can be awarded, and that is currently $330,000 (the amount was ruled by the Supreme Court of Canada to adjust with inflation).

Pecuniary, or special damages, do involve invoices and billing. Any costs incurred by the consumer because of the injury as well as future financial costs and future income loss – even loss of competitive advantage in the marketplace – as well as any need for assistance such as a house keeping service or rehabilitation services will be covered in special damages.

Meeting with a lawyer at an Ottawa law firm will take much of the stress out of dealing with this on your own and ensuring that you receive as much compensation as possible.