The Consumer Protection Act 1987 is the relevant UK act that introduced strict liability for damage arising from defective products in the UK.
What is a defective product?
The Consumer Protection Act covers all consumer goods, including pharmaceutical products and medical devices such as artificial hip components and pacemakers. It also covers goods used in the workplace and products which comprise another product, such as engine parts. A product will be considered to be defective if, when it was supplied, it did not meet the legitimate expectations of persons generally using it, taking into consideration the manner in which and the purposes for which the product was marketed, and any instructions or warnings which accompanied the product.
What sort of injury/damage can I claim for?
You can sue under the Consumer Protection Act for compensation, death, personal injury and damage to private property, providing the amount of personal injury or damage to property is valued at £275 or more.
Who is liable for the injury/damage caused by the defective product?
The ‘producer’ is the person primarily liable for any damage caused by a defective product. The producer will include either the person who manufactured it or, if the product has not been manufactured, the person who abstracted it or processed the product, such as in agricultural produce. In addition to the producer, any person who puts his name on a product or holds himself out as being the producer of the product, will be liable. In the event of the product being manufactured outside the EU, the person who imported the product into the EU will be liable. The supplier will also be liable if the supplier fails to respond to a request to identify the producer of a defective product which they then, in turn, supplied.
What does ‘strict liability’ mean?
A defendant will be liable for damages where it can be established that the product was defective and that the defect caused the reported injury. It is not necessary to establish fault, avoidability or negligence, but it is necessary to prove a causal link between the defect and harm.
The defendant will, however, have available to them the “development risk/ state of the art defence”, if they can demonstrate that at the time the product was supplied, the defect was not discoverable by using all accessible knowledge. It is not relevant what the reasonable manufacturer would do or have regard to the cost of acquiring such knowledge.
Why Beacon Law?
If you’ve been injured as a result of using a faulty or unsafe product, you could be entitled to make a defective product compensation claim. Beacon Law can help you do this. Speak to one of our personal injury solicitors today to discuss your claim.