product liability

Refers to the legal liability of manufacturers and sellers to compensate buyers, users, and even bystanders, for damages or injuries suffered because of defects in goods purchased. A tort which makes a manufacturer liable if his product has a defective condition that makes it unreasonably dangerous to the user or consumer. Cobbins v. General Ace. Fire & Life Assur. Corp., 3 Ill.App.3d 379, 279 N.E.2d 443, 446.
Although the ultimate responsibility for injury or damage in a products liability case most frequently rests with the manufacturer, liability may also be imposed upon a retailer, occasionally upon a wholesaler or middleman, a bailor or lessor, and infrequently upon a party wholly outside the manufacturing and distributing process, such as a certifier.
This ultimate responsibility may be imposed by an action by the plaintiff against the manufacturer directly, or by a claim for indemnification, asserted by way of a cross-claim or third party claim by the retailer or wholesaler, or others who might be held liable for the injury caused by a defective product. Under modern principles of products liability, and with the elimination of privity requirements in most instances, recovery is no longer limited to the purchaser of the product, or even to a user, but may extend to the non-user; the bystander who is injured or damaged by a defective product, for example.
However, the term "products liability" normally contemplates injury or damage caused by a defective product, and if loss occurs as a result of a condition on the premises, or as a result of a service, as distinguished from loss occasioned by a defective product, a products liability claim does not ordinarily arise, even though a product may be involved.
For statutory time limits in bringing products liability actions, see statute (statute of repose).
See also economic loss
- enterprise liability
- product liability insurance

Black's law dictionary. . 1990.

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