Products liability refers to the branch of tort law that holds designers, manufacturers, and sellers liable for the harm suffered by buyers and users of defective products. A “product” can be almost anything, from an aeronautical chart to an over the counter or prescription drug. “Defects” include flaws in the way a product is designed, manufactured, or marketed. Typical causes of action in products liability include strict liability, breach of warranty, negligence, manufacturing and design defects, and breach of the duty to warn. Most of the time, products liability is considered a strict liability offense. This means that the plaintiff only has to prove that there is a defect in the product. Once this plaintiff has made this showing, the manufacturer or supplier causing the damages is considered to be 100% responsible, regardless of any degree of carefulness on their part or any lack of care by the consumer.
The statute of limitation in a products liability case typically begins on the date the injury occurred. Some states, however, have a discovery exception that prevents the statute of limitations from beginning to run until the plaintiff has had a reasonable opportunity to discovery the defect. This is an important protection because, in many cases, the plaintiff will not discover the defect until months or even years later.