If you or a loved one was injured by a defective product, one of the first things your product liability claim attorney will need to do is to identify who is liable and then name them as part of the claim. In general, product liability claims are complicated because it is difficult to identify all of the parties that may be liable for your injury. However, this is an important step because it will increase your chances of obtaining the full extent of the recovery that you are entitled to. Sue All the Parties In the Chain of command As a general principle in product liability claims, your attorney should include any party that is involved in the chain of distribution of the product that caused your injury. This includes any party whose path that the product takes, from manufacture to distribution to the consumer. Three common parties in product liability claims include:
Manufacturer: Manufacturers are typically at the beginning of the chain of distribution for an injury due to manufacturing defects, design defects and failure to warn. It is also important to include any other additional parties that may be involved in the manufacture, design or marketing of the product. Retailer: Retailers may be held responsible for a defective product even though they did not manufacture it, but rather simply because they sold it. It is important to note that you do not have to be the buyer or the user of the defective product in order to hold the retailer liable. Wholesaler or Distributor: Any party between the manufacturer and retailer of the defective product may also be held liable for your injuries. This may include wholesalers, distributors, or any other “middlemen.” Each of these parties may be part of the distribution of the defective product and thus can be held responsible. Identifying the responsible parties in a product liability claim may be deceptively complicated. Evidence plays a critical role in a defective product case. As with most damage claims or lawsuits, you will have a certain period to take action against the liable party, which is known as statute of limitations. The period limit begins as soon as the damage or damage occurs or the victim becomes aware of the damage that was caused over a time. This time limit varies from State to State, but in the State of New York, you have three years to file a defective products claim.