Can Retailers Be Responsible for Defective Products?

Thousands of people are injured by dangerous or defective products every year. Most legal claims pertaining to product liability are made against the manufacturer. After all, it is usually a mistake in the manufacturing process that causes a defect in the first place. However, there are times when the retailer can be held financially responsible for defective products.

Product Liability Laws

Lawmakers understand that there is a difference between the knowledge merchants have versus that of consumers. Therefore, if a consumer is injured by a defective product, it may be possible to make a claim against anyone in the distribution chain, which may include:

  • Designers
  • Manufacturers
  • Wholesalers
  • Distributors
  • Retailers
  • Marketers

Nevada is a strict liability state for defective product claims. This means that injured victims do not have to show that the defendant was negligent. Instead, the victim only has to show the product was defective when it left the defendant’s possession, the victim used the product properly, and the product caused the injury. This legal theory can apply to anyone who manufactures, distributes, or sells a defective product.

Types of Product Defect Claims

There are several different types of defects that may lead to a legal claim against a manufacturer, designer, distributor, or retailer, including:

  • Design defects – Design defects occur when a product is made according to specifications but the design itself creates a dangerous product, such as a vehicle that is prone to roll over.
  • Manufacturing defects – Manufacturing defects happen when a mistake is made during the manufacturing process so that certain batches of the products are not made properly.
  • Warning or marketing defects – Warning or manufacturing defects occur when a box’s instructions, packaging materials, or advertisement materials do not adequately warn consumers of dangers.

Retailer Responsibilities

Retailers play an important role in the sales process. They are typically the last point of contact between the customer and the product. Retailers are responsible for selling products that consumers can use safely and that do not pose an unreasonable risk of harm to them. If a product they sell injures a consumer, the retailer may be held responsible for the injuries even though they were not the party responsible for making the product.

Retailer Negligence

Retailers can act negligently in the way they handle the selling of products. In some situations, they may know or should have known that a product they were selling had a defect. The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission regularly issues recalls and notifies retailers about them. If the retailer fails to remove products with a recall from their shelves might be held responsible if a customer is injured by one of the products. In some cases, the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission requires retailers to notify customers who purchased a defective product at their stores of the defect and the process to return, repair, or replace the product.

If you were injured by a defective product, a knowledgeable product liability lawyer from Koch & Brim Personal Injury can review your situation. We can gather evidence regarding the incident and identify all potentially at-fault parties. You can schedule a free case review when you call us at (702) 410-6034.