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A Simple Guide to Arizona Products Liability Law this Holiday Season

December 21, 2017

Santa and his elves have been busy this holiday season. In addition to making a list and checking it twice, our friends at the North Pole are working day and night to design and manufacturer toys and other products for everyone, including us Arizonans. Nonetheless, even for Santa, the chaos of the holiday season and the demand for holiday gifts can lead to mistakes in the manufacturing process. Unfortunately, these design and manufacturing mistakes can lead to personal injuries. In Arizona, as the seller, manufacturer, and/or distributor of the defective product, Santa would be legally responsible for any resulting injuries under Arizona’s products liability law. As Arizona personal injury attorneys, we, at Torgenson Law want to remind you of your rights if you are injured as a result of the dangerous design or product defect of one of your holiday gifts.

What is Products Liability?

Products liability is aimed at protecting consumers of everyday products from the negligence and recklessness of those who reaped the benefits of your purchases. In short, Arizona products liability is the liability doctrine that applies to manufacturers, sellers, and anyone in the chain of distribution of a defective product. If you purchase something for you or a loved one this holiday season, and the item causes you physical harm, you may have rights to compensation.

What is a Defect?

To have a claim under Arizona products liability law, the product in question must be defective in some way. Also, your injury must actually result from the product defect. There are three types of defects that may give rise to a products liability claim in Arizona.

  • manufacturing defect is one in which the overall design of the product is safe, but some misstep in the manufacturing process occurred and caused the product you purchased to become defective. For example, let’s say one of Santa’s elves is assembling a pogo stick. At that time, he is distracted and forgets to include a necessary component that holds the pogo stick together. If the person who purchases or receives the pogo stick jumps on it, only to have it break and cause personal injuries, then he or she has a right to recover from the manufacturer, aka Santa.
  • design defect occurs when the entire line of products is defective by design. Let’s say Santa designed a new electric blanket and had it mass-produced at the North Pole. However, when the electric blanket is turned to “high heat,” it immediately catches fire. The blanket’s very design is defective and dangerous, thus Santa would be liable as the manufacturer.
  • Failing to provide adequate warnings or instructions would be a marketing defect. If your Christmas lights are prone to overheating or popping if they are left on for too long, such information would need to be on a warning label. If it is not, and you suffer burns or lacerations from the glass, you have rights to recover for your physical and emotional damages.

How Do I Prove Liability?

In Arizona, suffering an injury as a result of a defective or unreasonably dangerous product, might be sufficient to entitle you to compensation, as a products liability claim can be initiated under a theory of strict liability. In essence, the manufacturer is wholly responsible for what it produces or sells. Therefore, the defect alone establishes liability.

Additionally, you can succeed against a manufacturer, seller, or distributor under a traditional negligence claim. If the manufacturer or seller did not use reasonable care in designing, testing, shipping, or inspecting, you can recover personal injury damages.

Also, all products your purchase or receive from Santa carry implied or express warranties from the manufacturer. These warranties are promises by the manufacturer to the consumer that a product will be fit for a particular purpose and meet the expectations of the consumer. For example, all chairs carry with them the expectations that a person can sit on them. If the chair collapses, the manufacturer will have breached an implied or express warranty.

Have a Happy and Safe Holidays!

At Torgenson Law, our Phoenix personal injury lawyers want to wish everyone a merry holiday season and a Happy New Years. As Arizona personal injury lawyers, we also wish for everyone to have a safe time with family and friends. However, if you or a loved one suffers a personal injury this holiday season, give Torgenson Law a call at (602) 726-0747 for a free consultation. We will discuss your options and fight for the compensation you deserve. Enjoy the holidays everyone!