Product liability laws exist to provide consumers with protection against products that are defective and may cause them harm. Unfortunately for businesses in the manufacturing industry, this is a constant source of risk. According to the law, it is the responsibility of the manufacturer to ensure their products and product components are safe for public use. This may seem like a daunting task, but there are measures you can take to protect your business from product liability claims.
In your efforts to warn the public about any dangers your products may present, you can’t just rely on the use of warning labels alone. There are recent cases where courts have ruled against manufacturers in favor of the plaintiffs even though they placed warning labels on their products. This trend suggests that even if your company exhausts every effort to place warnings on its products, the public may still be able to file claims against it if they are injured, harmed or at risk for injury from the use of your goods.
You may feel inclined to stop the testing of any particular product once it hits the market. However, it is in your company’s best interest to continue with testing. This can help you to identify potential defects and problems with the manufacture and design process and uses that can potentially put your company at risk. This also increases your ability to perform thorough testing to ensure your company took appropriate action during the evaluation phases to prevent product defects. Don’t forget to keep meticulous notes about everything.
Incorporate Safety During the Build and Design Stages
Many hazards, risks and defects can be avoided during the design stage of products. By taking into account how your products will be used and what hazards they present, you can take preventative safety measures to ensure they meet or exceed all federal and industry standards. You should also perform a safety review so that appropriate warnings, hazards, labels and instructions can be identified and added in prominent areas on the products to ensure visibility, understanding and compliance. Products should also be reviewed periodically to ensure no new dangers or hazards exist. If so, all warnings, instructions and labels need to be updated to reflect them. The more disclosures you provide to the public, the better.
Purchase Product Liability Insurance
Although it is not mandatory, it is a good idea for any company that manufactures products and goods to have it. This coverage can be very beneficial in times of litigation. If someone files a claim against your company because they were injured by your product, the policy covers the award that individual would receive if the courts rule against you.
Of course, not all product and liability insurances are the same, so you need to research your options before purchasing. Check all coverage options carefully, especially the exclusions, so you can get the policy that offers your company the best protection.
Check Your Suppliers
Some suppliers make changes to the products and goods they sell before they make them available to the public. While this may bode well for the supplier, it could prove risky for your organization. To protect your company from any issues that may arise regarding product liability after shipping, have your suppliers enter into an agreement with your company that holds them financially responsible for any product defects that may occur as a result of their shipping practices.
Hire Legal Counsel
Keep an attorney on retainer whom you can consult with regarding product liability issues and concerns. They can minimize your company’s risks by providing you with guidance on your manufacturing practices.
Taking preventative measures now to reduce product liability claims can save you a great deal of time, money and resources.
The content on our website is only meant to provide general information and is not legal advice. We make our best efforts to make sure the information is accurate, but we cannot guarantee it. Do not rely on the content as legal advice. For assistance with legal problems or for a legal inquiry please contact you attorney.