4097978015 - What is Products Liability ME4214 Design for...

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1 ME4214 Design for Product Safety Product Liability Dr. David Yuen Department of Mechanical Engineering The Hong Kong Polytechnic University 2 What is Products Liability? • Products liability refers to the liability of any or all parties along the chain of manufacture of any product for damage caused by that product. – This includes the manufacturer of component parts (at the top of the chain), an assembling manufacturer, the wholesaler, and the retail store owner (at the bottom of the chain). • Products containing inherent defects that cause harm to a consumer of the product, or someone to whom the product was loaned, given, etc., are the subjects of products liability suits. • While products are generally thought of as tangible personal property, products liability has stretched that definition to include intangibles (gas), naturals (pets), real estate (house), and writings (navigational charts). 3 Product Liability • every manufacturer has a responsibility for damage and injuries that a product causes to people and property • this responsibility may be transferred to the importer • the liability may lead to payments for damages or other legal consequences 4 Product Liability • the product should be systematically and carefully scrutinized to determine what damage it may cause • documentation of product development in respect of safety is important • insurance companies will demand this documentation before covering the risk
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5 General Principles: Theories of Liability • There are five theories to protect parties from loss caused by nonconforming goods. They are: (1) express warranty, (2) implied warranty, (3) negligence, (4) fraud, and (5) strict tort liability. • Theories of product liability are not mutually exclusive. A given set of facts may give rise to liability under two or more theories. 6 Why Multiple Theories of Liability? • Elements of proof are different – fault required for negligence – defective product required for Strict Liability – warranty only covers products not services – warranty and contract requires privity with plaintiff • Recoveries are different – punitive damages available under negligence and Strict Liability – economic loss only under contract and warranty 7 When goods are defective and cause harm or loss, the person harmed has a claim for product liability . Not Mutually Exclusive Guarantee Negligence Fraud Express Warranty Implied Warranty Strict Tort Liability Cumulative Theories 8 • The idea of privity of contract (only the parties to the contract have warranty protection) has been widely rejected. • The law usually allows any person harmed by an improper product to sue anyone who is in any way responsible. – The buyer, user and even bystanders may
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4097978015 - What is Products Liability ME4214 Design for...

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