When a consumer purchases a product, they expect not only that the product will function as it is supposed to function, but also that it will be safe and free from potentially harmful or dangerous defects. However, history has shown that not all products are safely designed or manufactured, and sometimes a product will be damaged in transit, making it unreasonably dangerous even when used for its intended purpose. In these situations, anyone who is injured as a result of the use of the product may be able to purse a claim for compensation through a Virginia product liability claim.
In Virginia, there are several types of product liability claims that can be brought against a number of parties. For example, a claim may be brought based on the defective design of a product, the negligent manufacturing of a product, or a company’s failure to warn the consumer about a known defect. As a general rule, a Virginia product liability claim can be brought against any person or business in the product’s chain of commerce, from the manufacturer to the retailer.
A recent case illustrates the trend toward holding all actors in the chain of commerce responsible for the safety of a product.
The Facts of the Case
The plaintiff purchased a reclining chair from the defendant retail furniture store. The chair had a foot-massage feature. While the plaintiff was using the foot-massage feature, the chair crushed his left foot, resulting in serious injuries. The plaintiff filed a product liability claim against the retailer. It was undisputed that the defendant did not design or manufacture the product.
The defendant argued that as a “passive retailer,” it was immune from liability because the manufacturer of the product, which was also named in the lawsuit, was the only party responsible for the defect. The court acknowledged that historically the passive-retailer doctrine would have protected the defendant in this type of case, but, since the passage of the state’s Liability Reform Act, the applicability of the passive-retailer doctrine has been called into question.
The court ultimately concluded that the legislature’s intent in passing the Liability Reform Act indicated its desire to do away with the passive-retailer doctrine and allow product liability plaintiffs to name even a passive retailer in a product liability lawsuit. The court noted that the shift in the law is due in part to society’s acknowledgment that a seller of a good should ultimately be responsible for the safety of that item, regardless of whether that party had anything to do with the good’s design or manufacture.
Have You Been Injured While Using a Dangerous Product?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured while using a dangerous or defective product, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. The dedicated Virginia personal injury attorneys at the law offices of The Schupak Law Firm have extensive experience handling Virginia product liability claims, and we know what it takes to be successful on behalf of our clients. Call 703-491-7070 to schedule a free consultation with an attorney to discuss your case today.
See More Blog Posts:
Court Rejects Argument That Non-Signing Party Was Bound by Arbitration Agreement, Virginia Injury Lawyers Blog, December 27, 2017.
Court Permits Victim of “Horseplay” to Pursue Punitive Damages Against Fellow Student, Virginia Injury Lawyers Blog, December 18, 2017.