Product Liability Compensation Claims
Australia’s product liability laws are a mixture of common law, federal and state legislation.
The Australian Consumer Law (ACL) came into force on 1 January 2011 and replaced a number of inconsistent state laws that dealt with consumer protection and fair trading in Australia.
The ACL provides a scheme of compensation allowing people to claim compensation if they suffer an injury because of a safety defect with a product.
Product liability refers to a manufacturer or importer of goods being held liable for a defective product that causes an injury to a consumer.
Product liability claims can be brought under the tort of negligence however the ACL now codifies and simplifies this process imposing strict liability on manufacturer and importers who supply consumer goods in trade or commerce to ensure that those goods do not have a safety defect which causes injury.
The liability under the ACL generally applies to an importer or manufacturer who supplies a consumer good in trade or commerce that has a safety defect. If that safety defect causes injury to the consumer then the manufacturer or importer is liable to pay compensation.
The ACL allows a consumer to seek compensation from the manufacturer or importer who supplied a product with a safety defect if that product causes injury.
Such compensation can include:
- Non-economic loss for pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life
- Economic loss such as medical expenses and loss of income.
What should you do if you have been injured by a faulty product?
If you have been injured by a faulty product you should:
- Seek medical treatment for your injuries.
- Keep the product that caused your injury and any purchase receipt and packaging including warning labels.
- Keep records of any loss or income.
- Report the injury to the manufacturer.
- You should also immediately seek the advice of an Accredited Specialist in Personal Injury Law who has experience in product liability claims. It is best to seek advice early on as to whether you have a valid claim for compensation. It is important in these types of claims to establish early on the identity of the manufacturer and/or importer of the product as this can sometimes be difficult to establish.
Types of product liability cases
There are many and varied examples of cases that could lead to an action but may include:
- Faulty kitchen appliances which cause injury.
- Failure of a component of a motor vehicle which causes a car accident.
- Explosions of gas bottles causing severe burns.
- Unsafe or faulty toys and consumer products which cause injury.
Who is liable for damage caused by a defect product?
In most cases the manufacturer or importer of the product will be held liable for any damage or injury caused by the defective products. In some cases where the manufacturer is an overseas company, the importer or supplier of the product will be deemed to be the manufacture for the purpose of the claim.
If you have sustained an injury as a result of defective product you have a period of three years to bring a claim in court from the time when you knew or ought to have known you had a right to make a claim.
It is best however to make sure that you obtain legal advice well within three years from the date of the injury.
If you have any questions about a product liability claim and wish to speak to us please: