Life as a small business owner is not always easy. You have to deal with the constant need for self-promotion, marketing and sometimes advertising — not to mention actually manufacturing or crafting your product. So, what happens when one of your products injures or kills someone? Business litigation experts weigh in on your options and rights.
Product liability claims can be filed by consumers when the product does not meet their expectations for some reason. This often occurs when the product is considered dangerous or harmful by the consumer. State law in Colorado often governs such claims, requiring a comprehensive case that demonstrates breach of warranty, strict liability or even negligence.
Three types of basic product defects exist in business litigation. These include design, manufacturing and marketing defects. A design defect occurs when some flaw in the product’s design causes a product to be dangerous; think of a top-heavy bookshelf that falls on a victim. In some cases, the design is adequate, but the product manufacturer fails to adhere to specifications and creates a dangerous product. Here, the concept of strict liability often allows plaintiffs to recover compensation even if the manufacturer is not deemed negligent — the fact that a dangerous product made it to market is sometimes proof enough. Finally, marketing defects occur when the product’s instructions or labels are unclear or warnings are not clearly associated with a potentially dangerous item.
Small-business owners may be financially vulnerable if they find themselves in the midst of a product liability suit. A business attorney can be a useful ally in such a case, providing these entrepreneurs with resources and answers to help them protect their ventures. Running a small business is worry enough; you should not also have to stay awake at night worrying about a product liability suit ruining your life’s work.
Source: FindLaw, “The Small Business Owner and Product Liability” Nov. 10, 2014