Who do You Sue in a Product Liability Claim?
- November 13, 2015
- Product Liability
It can be a daunting task to figure out whom to file your lawsuit against when you have been injured due to a product defect. Depending on the product, there can be a few different entities which may be held liable. With so many corporations having subsidiaries or parent companies, it can get complicated to find all the organizations involved.
The difficulties also increase if the chain of distribution (manufacturer to distributor to consumer) for the product is a long one involving many different traders. A good product liability lawyer in Dallas can help you identify all the possible defendants, but you should have some basic knowledge about the subject so you can question and understand what you attorney may recommend.
Joint and Several Liability
It is important to name all possible defendants in your defective product claim because of the legal principle of “joint and several” liability. This implies all the defendants are liable for the product defect together and separately. In practical terms, this means if one defendant cannot pay their share of the compensation, the other dependents will be on the hook for it. This is why it is extremely important to discover all possible parties in the chain of distribution.
Including the manufacturer who produced the faulty item in your lawsuit is quite obvious. However, if the product that injured you was assembled by one entity and includes parts or even part designs from other corporations, a good product liability lawyer will help discover which other companies should be a part of your case.
Generally, there are one or more middlemen between the manufacturer and the retailer. These middlemen are otherwise known as distributors, suppliers and wholesalers. All of them could be liable and should be included in your product liability lawsuit.
The retailer may be only selling the product but should definitely be included in your defective product lawsuit. Even though retailers may claim innocence because they did not produce the object, it is not your job to decide which defendant is more responsible. Remember the “joint and several” liability principle is about the defendants being liable together so in some cases you may have a small manufacturer, but a large retailer and the retailer may have to pay the manufacturer’s part of the compensation if the manufacturer does not have the resources to do so.
As you dig through the chain of distribution of the malfunctioning product, you may come across an organization which is based outside the United States. Normally, this should not prevent you from including the potential foreign defendant in your product liability claim because if the defendant is undertaking business transactions in this country, they are subject to the laws of the country as well.
In order to discover all the parties in the chain of distribution of a faulty product, you need a lot of time, resources and experience. A good lawyer can advise you appropriately and help identify all the parties that should be named in the legal case. Contact the Dallas personal injury lawyers of Guajardo & Marks, LLP at 972-774-9800 to speak to an experienced product liability attorney today.