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Oakwood Solicitors

Accidents Caused By
Faulty Products

Been injured or feel that you have been
let down as a result of a faulty product?

  • No-Win, No-Fee.
  • Solicitors firm with 20 years’ experience in litigation.
  • Leading experts in Product Liability claims.
  • Excellent track record of recovering compensation for our clients.
  • Free initial consultation.

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The experts in Product Liability claims

What exactly is a Product Liability claim?

  • Simply put, product liability relates to anything manufactured that is shown to be faulty or not fit for the purpose it was intended. This could include any product from child toys, to cleaning products, to mobile phones, to foodstuffs, and even medication. Effectively, it’s any product available to the public.
  • If such a fault or contamination is found or the product is not fit for purpose, the retailer and/or the manufacturer and/or importer of that product (into the EU), is responsible for the product and any harm or damage it has caused.

What Does the Consumer Rights Act say?

The Consumer Rights Act dictates that all products must be of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose, and as described.  

  • Satisfactory quality – Goods shouldn’t be faulty or damaged when you receive them. You should ask what a reasonable person would consider satisfactory for the goods in question.
  • Fit for purpose – The goods should be fit for the purpose they are supplied for, as well as any specific purpose made known to you by the retailer, before you agreed to buy the goods.
  • As described – The goods supplied must match any description given to you, or any models or samples shown to you at the time of purchase.

 

The Consumer Protection Act 1987 provides the provisions and protection for consumers to use a product in the knowledge that the product is safe and fit for purpose.  The Act sets out who is liable for a faulty product.

We at Oakwood Solicitors Ltd are here to help you win your case against any manufacturer or persons deemed as the producer who has sold you a faulty product and has caused injury or property damage.

Some examples may be an injury, property damage, or psychological damage.  It can be quite obvious when a product is defective, it may fail the first time of use or some years later.  However, if it can be shown that a reasonable person would expect the product to remain in use and should remain in use for that period and it fails, then the product is defective.

Similarly, if a product does not fail but it simply is not able to do the job intended, for example, the popular catchphrase “as much use a chocolate teapot” or a sun cream that does not protect against the sun’s rays, then the product is not fit for the purpose it was intended and is, therefore, defective.

The effects of some products may not be known for some time. This is particularly the case when defective medical products are used.  It may be a number of years before the adverse effects of a medication or medical device are known.

What are the most common types of product claims?

As mentioned above, due to the vast number of products out there, these claims can arise from anywhere.  However, you may have seen many of those that have hit the headlines in the past, such as defective tumble dryers, mobile phone batteries, and a number of children’s toys.

Also, there are many food products that are recalled due to contamination and may result in serious injury.  Within the UK alone there are many products recalled every week, so there is a wide variety of claims that can be made against the companies who bring these products to market.

This includes medications, aides, and medical implants that may cause adverse or unintended consequences. Examples of this may be defective breast implants, hip joints used in hip operations, or permanent contact lenses.

It is a common misconception that these cases are the fault of the medical practitioner, however, if a defective product is used in good faith by the medical practitioner, it is not the fault of the medical practitioner but the fault of the manufacturer.

What injuries can be caused because of product liability claims?

As you can imagine, there are a number of injuries caused by defective products. The worst of which may be fatal.  There have been reports of house fires due to defective tumble dryers, although no fatalities have been reported, the possibility of such a fatality could be high.

Products such as defective power tools, motorcars, or bicycles can often result in catastrophic injury to the user and those around them. These injuries can have a knock-on effect on a person’s life, for example, if they are unable to work and face financial hardship as a result.

Often in the headlines, you will see foodstuffs being recalled. As you can expect, contaminated food which may hit the shops and supermarkets can be a major risk to the public and recalls issued may be found in the public domain or across the various medial platforms.  Often, serious food poisoning can result from these contaminated products.

If a medical product is found to be defective, this can be very worrying for the patient.  It may be that you are not symptomatic but are aware of a recall or have been warned of a potential defect.

In these cases a claim can be brought for the pain, suffering, and psychological effect this may have, alongside compensation for undergoing a further procedure to correct or remove the product or medical device.

Who does it affect?

Product liability claims first and foremost affect the person using the product who may have sustained injury or property damage.  However, it may affect their family, financially or through the care they have provided to the injured party.

A defective medical product or device may not affect all those who have used it or are using the device.  However, the risk of developing such problems will be assessed on a case-by-case basis and removed in those of high risk.

Statistics

There are hundreds of product recalls each year across all markets. From electrical products to furniture to motor vehicles to medical devices.

Looking at electrical products alone, it is reported that the average success rate of a product recall is around 10 to 20%. This shows that there are huge volumes of recalled products still being used by the public.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I make a claim?

If you have sustained an injury as a result of a defective or faulty product then first, you should seek medical attention as required.  With regards to making a claim for the injury, you should obtain photographs of the product in its broken state where possible.  It would also assist to obtain proof of purchase.  We can then assess the prospects of the case and advise you accordingly.

If you have reported the matter to the manufacturer or retailer, you may be offered a refund or compensation from them directly.  By accepting this, it does not automatically bar you from making a claim and you should seek our advice on this.  You may be entitled to more than just your money back.

If you are aware of a defect with a medication or medical device then you should seek medical advice.  Any medical device that has been recalled will be made known to medical experts or can be easily researched by them.  The medical expert will provide advice to you.  It may be that revision surgery is required or the medication needs to be withdrawn.

If you decide that you wish to make a claim or seek advice on making a claim, you can contact Oakwood Solicitors and we can assess your case.  We will require details, where possible, of the practitioner or company whom carried out the procedure, details of the dates this was undertaken and details of what symptoms you are experiencing.

We would also advise that you report the side effects to the practitioner or company who carried out the procedure. We can then assess the prospects of your claim and look to obtain compensation for the injury.

How much is my claim worth?

Given the vast area of injuries product liability claims may cover, it is difficult to assess the value of your injury at their outset, given the complexities involved. However, we will pursue two forms of compensation for you:

  • General damages – An award of money for the pain and suffering you have endured as a result of your injuries.
  • Special damages – An award of money for all of your out-of-pocket expenses such as travel expenses, medication costs, loss of earnings, treatment costs both past and future. This list is not exhaustive and is very case-specific.

Why use Oakwood Solicitors Ltd to make my product liability case?

We have a dedicated team of solicitors and paralegals who have many years’ experience between them in running cases of this nature. They are highly trained to deal with all aspects of Product Liability.

We want to ensure at Oakwood Solicitors Ltd that clients are not overwhelmed by legal jargon, medical terms that they don’t understand and to allow the claims procedure to be as transparent as possible.

How is my case funded?

The majority of Product cases are funded by a Conditional Fee Agreement, more commonly known as a ‘no-win, no-fee’ agreement. This means that there will be nothing to pay upfront and nothing to pay if the claim has been lost. If you are successful in your claim, a maximum deduction of up to 25% of your compensation will be taken to cover any shortfall in your legal fees.

This will be calculated and evidenced at the conclusion of your claim. Any deduction for costs will not exceed 25%.

It may also be the case that an After The Event (ATE) insurance policy will be obtained to cover the costs of expensive medical reports and investigations. If an ATE insurance policy has to be obtained the cost of the same will be discussed with you at the appropriate point.

The cost of the ATE insurance policy is again taken from your damages and only payable if you are successful with your claim.

Limitation

There is a statute of limitations that covered all claims brought and included within this is product liability claims.  The Limitation Act 1980 sets out the law with regards to the timeframes a person can bring a claim against another party.  Court proceedings must be issued with the Court, against the intended Defendant, within this timeframe.

In respect of product liability, there are two levels to the Limitation of such claims.  Firstly, any claim, including personal injury, must be brought within 10 years of the product being brought to market.  This is the date the product is made available to the public.

However, if the claim does include personal injury, you have three years from the date of the action (i.e. from the date of injury) or three years from the date of knowledge (i.e. three years from the date you knew the injury was caused by the defective product).  The latter being particularly important when bringing a claim for defective medical products.

Whilst the symptoms may be present, you may not know that they have been caused by the defective medical device or medication until some weeks or years later.  The clock starts when you become aware of the link between the symptoms and the cause.

However, as mentioned above, even with personal injury claims, the claim must still be brought within 10 years of the product being brought to market.  So if a product was brought to market nine years ago and you are now aware that the product or medical device is defective you only have one year to issue your claim with the Courts.  We can help you if you are unsure of the limitation of a claim.

How long will my case take to run?

Given the complexities involved in pursuing Product Liability claims, they can often take 18-24 months to conclude and longer if Court proceedings have to be issued.

Our investigations start by obtaining all relevant records, establishing your rehabilitation needs, and identifying the appropriate Defendant. We will provide you with regular updates on the progress of your case to ensure that you are kept up to speed.

What are the most common types of product liability claims?

Furniture

Product Liability relates with regards to furniture to anything manufactured that is shown to be faulty or not fit for the purpose it was intended.  This includes any product, such as furniture.

If such a fault is found or the furniture is not fit for purpose, the retailer and/or the manufacturer and/or importer of that product (into the EU), is responsible for the product and any harm or damage it has caused.

 

The Consumer Rights Act dictates that all furniture must be of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose and as described:

  • Satisfactory quality – Furniture shouldn’t be faulty or damaged when you receive it. You should ask what a reasonable person would consider satisfactory for the goods in question.
  • Fit for purpose – The furniture should be fit for the purpose they are supplied for, as well as any specific purpose made known to you by the retailer before you agreed to buy the goods.
  • As described – The furniture supplied must match any description given to you, or any models or samples shown to you at the time of purchase.

The Consumer Protect Act 1987 provide the provisions and protection for consumers to use furniture they have purchased, in the knowledge that the furniture is safe and fit for purpose.  The Act sets out who is liable for a faulty product, including furniture.

We at Oakwood Solicitors Ltd are here to help you win your case against any manufacturer, or persons deemed as the producer, who has sold you faulty furniture and has caused injury or property damage.

Some examples may be an injury, property damage or psychological damage.  It can be quite obvious when furniture is defective, it may fail the first time of use or some years later.  However, if it can be shown that a reasonable person would expect the furniture to remain in use, and should remain in use, for that period and it fails, then the furniture is defective.

Similarly, if furniture does not fail but it simply is not able to do the job is was intended, for example, a chair that is unable to take the weight it was designed or a cabinet that collapses, then is not fit for the purpose it was intended and therefore, defective. The effects of defects may not be known for some time.

This is particularly the case when defective or dangerous materials are used which may cause harm over time, for example, chemicals used in the manufacturing process of soft furnishings or sofas, which are later found to cause harm.  It may be a number of years before the adverse effects are known.

What are the most common types of furniture product claims?

As mentioned above, due to the vast number of different furniture products out there, these claims can arise from anywhere.  However, we often see chairs that may collapse and not stand up to the everyday use one would expect.  If the furniture is unsound and not able to hold up to its intended use, then often, our clients find themselves with injuries through no fault of their own.

However, there have been significant group action claims brought against manufacturers of soft furnishings, such as sofas, where the materials, such as leather, have been treated in toxic and harmful chemicals.

The defect may arise from faults such as a design fault that was not visible or known at the point of purchase and it simply cannot live up to its intended purpose.  A manufacturing defect, in which the manufacturing process has failed or the furniture has not been assembled by the manufacturer properly.

This is often the result of poor quality control testing by the manufacturer.  The Defect may be a result of a failure to warn the customer, for example, not to place or assemble the furniture near a direct heat source and the furniture has become damaged resulting in it failing.

Electrical devices

If you have sustained injury or property damage as a result of using any dangerous, defective or faulty electrical device, please contact us. It does not matter if the product was manufactured outside of the UK, as long as the product was purchased in the UK it is governed by UK laws and standards.

Some examples of this may be overheating or exploding products such as hair dryers, straighteners, tumble dryers, microwaves, toasters, ovens, re-chargeable batteries such as e-cigarettes, mobile phones, hoverboards, faulty wiring resulting in electric shock, dangerous or sharp edges.

E-cigarettes

If you have sustained injury or property damage as a result of using any dangerous, defective or faulty E-cigarette please contact us. It does not matter if the product was manufactured outside of the UK, as long as the product was purchased in the UK it is governed by UK laws and standards.

You may have seen the horrific videos of e-cigarettes exploding in people’s pockets. These small devices can cause a serious injury if they are faulty or poorly made. We can assist in making any claim against the manufacturer, importer, or any company who puts their names to these products if you sustain any injury as a result, and ensure you get the rehabilitation and treatment you need.

Phone batteries

If you have sustained injury or property damage as a result dangerous, defective or faulty phone battery please contact us. It does not matter if the product was manufactured outside of the UK, as long as the product was purchased in the UK it is governed by UK laws and standards.

You may have seen the horrific videos of phone batteries exploding. Some of these products are deemed so dangerous they have been withdrawn from sale and banned from being taken onboard flights.

These devices can cause a serious injury if they are faulty or poorly made. We can assist in making any claim against the manufacturer, importer or any company who puts their names to these products if you sustain any injury as a result and ensure you get the rehabilitation and treatment you need.

Beauty treatments

We all want to look good and know the phrase ‘beauty is pain,’ however – sometimes treatments go wrong and can cause excessive pain and suffering, which is not acceptable.

Whether this is burns from waxing or negligent laser treatments, scarring can be an unintended result, which can cause emotional distress.

In these types of claims it can be difficult to establish who is responsible, as a lot of beauticians can be sole traders or a franchise. It can also be difficult to identify if there is insurance in place to meet the cost of the claim.

Our specialist Personal Injury Lawyers know how to get you the compensation you deserve if you’ve been injured due to negligent service. We have years of experience helping clients following such incidents, and will ensure we do everything possible to make sure your claim is successful.

Appliances

If you have sustained an injury or extensive property damage as a result of using any dangerous, defective or faulty household appliance, please contact us.

Failure may be the result of the appliance failing, overheating, electric failure resulting in electric shock, burns caused by handles breaking on pans or dishes when cooking. It does not matter if the product was manufactured outside of the UK, as long as the product was purchased in the UK it is governed by UK laws and standards.

Bicycles

If you have sustained injury as a result of a dangerous, defective or faulty bike, whether this be the fault of the manufacturer or the retailer who assembled the bicycle, please contact us. It does not matter if the product was manufactured outside of the UK, as long as the product was purchased in the UK it is governed by UK laws and standards.

Many of us now ride to work or cycle for leisure. However, the number of cases of faulty bikes is all too common. It may be that the frame has snapped, pedal has fallen off, handlebars loose, faulty brakes, or maybe the bike has just not been assembled correctly. If any of these occur whilst riding your bike it’s likely you will be injured and possibly seriously as a result.

Power tools and equipment

If you have sustained an injury as a result of using any dangerous, defective, or faulty power tool, whether it’s at work or carrying out your own DIY, please contact us. It does not matter if the product was manufactured outside of the UK, as long as the product was purchased in the UK it is governed by UK laws and standards.

Some examples of faulty power tools and equipment may be overheating, exploding products, or failed safety/cut-off mechanism.

DIY supplies

If you have sustained an injury as a result of using any dangerous, defective or faulty DIY tools whether it’s at work or carrying out your own DIY, please contact us.

It does not matter if the product was manufactured outside of the UK, as long as the product was purchased in the UK it is governed by UK laws and standards. Such examples may be of overheating or exploding products, or simply product failure whilst carrying out the intended task.

Motor vehicles

If you have sustained an injury as a result of a dangerous, defective or faulty motor vehicle we can assess your case. It does not matter if it was manufactured outside of the UK, as long as the vehicle was purchased in the UK it is governed by UK laws and standards.

It may be that any part of the vehicle is defective and results in a collision that was not your fault, but you believe is the fault of the motor vehicle you were driving. Perhaps the airbag did not deploy, or the seat belt retention system did not stop you from moving forward.

For any injury you believe could have been avoided or reduced – if it was not for a fault, we can help.

Children’s toys and clothing

If you or your child have sustained an injury as a result of a dangerous or defective children’s toy or clothing, we can assess your case. It does not matter if the product was manufactured outside of the UK, as long as it was purchased in the UK it is governed by UK laws and standards.

For example – age-appropriate guidelines on toys that may not be what they claim. Many children’s toys are withdrawn or recalled as they have been poorly made. This is a serious issue when such companies are neglecting the safety and lives of children.

We can assist in making any claim against the manufacturer, importer, or any company which puts its name to the products if any injury is sustained as a result.

What do I do now?

Contact Oakwood Solicitors Ltd and provide us with some basic details about the faulty product, and the effects it has had on you. We will then be able to tell you if you have a viable claim.

There is absolutely no obligation to proceed. You can provide information or get in touch by:

carol cook
Carol Cook — Head of Department

Carol joined Oakwood Solicitors in May 2017 to lead the Medical Negligence department. She handles a wide range of Clinical and Dental Negligence claims and has a specialist interest in Birth Injuries.

Carol has years of experience in handling complex clinical and Dental Negligence claims securing substantial amounts of damages for her clients. Carol studied her law degree (LLB honours) at Salford University.

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