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Product Liability in Petoskey: What You Need To Know

Product Liability in Petoskey: What You Need To Know

Any product you buy has the potential to fail. However, if the product failure harmed or injured you, you may have a case for product liability.

Our experienced product liability lawyers can provide astute legal advice in Petoskey and surrounding areas. Our dedicated team of attorneys has a strong track record in providing competent representation to victims of defective products.

Michigan Product Liability Laws

The manufacturer must vet and prove consumer products’ safety before they hit the shelves. If a product is found to be defective or dangerous, the manufacturer can be held legally responsible for any harm caused by its use.

This legal concept is known as product liability. In Michigan, several laws are in place to protect consumers from unsafe products and hold manufacturers accountable for their actions.

Elements of a Product Liability Case

There are several elements a plaintiff must prove for a valid product liability case. Here are the elements according to the Michigan Compiled Law §600.2946:

  • Inherent Defect: The plaintiff must prove that the product had an unreasonably dangerous defect. As stated earlier, commercial products must be made reasonably safe for their intended use. The manufacturer can be held liable if a defective product has been made available.

  • Damage: The plaintiff must show that the product defect harmed them or caused financial loss. This damage could manifest as physical injuries, property damage, emotional damage, or economic loss.

  • Preventable Accident: The plaintiff must prove that the harm or loss they suffered resulted from the product defect. This element demonstrates that if the manufacturer had taken reasonable measures to prevent the defect, the plaintiff would not have suffered harm or loss.

Different Types of Product Defects

Product defects exist in three primary forms, namely manufacturing defects, design defects, and marketing defects. Here’s what each type entails:

  • Manufacturing Defects: These defects occur during the production or assembly process. For example, a toy with sharp edges that cut a child due to a faulty cutting machine would be considered a manufacturing defect.

  • Design Defects: These defects exist in the product’s design, making it inherently dangerous or defective even if it is correctly manufactured. For instance, a pool with a steep slope that causes accidents due to a flawed design would be considered a design defect.

  • Marketing Defects: These defects occur when the manufacturer fails to provide adequate instructions or warnings about potential hazards associated with the product’s use. For example, if a medication’s label does not warn about possible side effects, it can be considered a marketing defect.

Statute of Limitations in Product Liability Cases

According to the Michigan Compiled Law §600.5805, plaintiffs who suffered damages from a product defect have three years to file a product liability lawsuit in Michigan. Failure to file a claim within this time frame can result in the court dismissing the case.

The statute of limitations is established to ensure that claims are filed on time while evidence is still available and accurate. The statute also protects manufacturers from excessive liability for products they might’ve discontinued or altered since the plaintiff filed the claim.

Consumer Rights and Protections in Michigan

The Michigan Consumer Protection Act, or the 1976 PA 331, was enacted to protect consumers from unfair, deceptive, or unconscionable business practices. Under this law, the state’s attorney general can take legal action against businesses that violate consumer rights.

This law is Michigan’s primary consumer protection source, covering various areas such as deceptive advertising, fraudulent sales practices, unfair contract terms, and so on. This law also outlines the legal actions a victim of consumer fraud can take, such as filing a lawsuit to seek compensation for financial losses.

Sanctions for Violating Businesses

According to the Michigan Consumer Protection Act, enforcement agencies can take the following action against businesses that engage in deceptive or unfair practices:

  • Cease Operations: The court can issue an order prohibiting the business from continuing the fraudulent or deceptive practice. This legal order should give enterprises at least ten days to stop the prohibited practice.

  • Appear for Questioning: The court can order the business owner to appear for questioning. During this period, the owner must provide evidence or testify under oath.

  • Revise Practices: Depending on the product defect and its impact on consumers, the court can order businesses to revise their practices to align with consumer protection laws. This revision could include issuing refunds or recalling defective products.

  • File a Class Action Lawsuit: The court can allow consumers to file a class-action lawsuit against businesses that engage in unfair or deceptive practices. This type of lawsuit allows multiple plaintiffs with similar claims to join forces and seek compensation collectively.

Penalties for Breaching Consumer Protection Laws

If it’s proven that the company engaged in fraudulent practices, the court can