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Product Liability

Product liability is the area of law where manufacturers or vendors are responsible for their products and any damage caused by them. Product Liability claims arise when a party suffers a loss or injury due to a defective product. It must be proved that the product was defective, and this defect caused the injury.

The law governing defective products in Ireland is the Defective Products Act, 1991. Under the 1991 Act a product is defective where it fails to provide the safety a person is entitled to expect, taking all circumstances into account, including the presentation of the product, the use to which it can be reasonably be expected to be put, and the time it was put into circulation. It is important to note that a product is not seen to be defective if a better product is made available.

The Act states that the ‘producer’ of a defective product will be held liable for any damage caused. There is a wide definition of a “producer” in the Act which includes:-

  • Check icon The manufacturer or producer of a finished product
  • Check icon The manufacturer or producer of any raw material
  • Check icon The manufacturer or producer of a component part of a product
  • Check icon A person who processes soil, of stock-farming, fisheries or game products
  • Check icon Any person who puts their name on a trademark
  • Check icon Any person who has imported the product into a Member State from a place outside the European Communities

The onus lies on the injured person to prove how the accident happened and to prove that any injuries were caused as a result of the defects of the product.

Product liability claims are complex claims and specialist advice should be sought in order to commence such a claim.

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