Products Liability

If you have been injured because of a defective product, you need to contact Donald W. Fohrman & Associates, Ltd., to ensure that you recover fair compensation for your injuries from the products manufacturer. Even though products liability cases are extremely complex, expensive to prosecute and vigorously defended by manufacturers, our qualified Personal Injury attorneys have consistently recovered substantial damages for our clients injured by defective products.

Product liability claims are based on three (3) theories of law:

1. Negligence – A negligence theory requires the plaintiff to prove four (4) elements:

  1. It must be shown that the defendant owed a duty to the consumer. Manufacturers, in fact, owe a duty to the users of its products and bystanders likely to be injured.
  2. The manufacturer also has a duty in making its products, to guard against injuries likely to result from reasonable, foreseeable misuse of the product.
  3. The plaintiff must also show that the manufacturer breached its duty.
  4. The plaintiff must prove that they were injured and that the manufacturer’s breach caused the injury.

2. Strict Liability – Strict liability holds that the manufacturer of a product is responsible to anyone injured by the use of an unreasonable and dangerous product. Illinois law requires that to prove strict liability, a person must show that:

  • the product was defective and unreasonably dangerous;
  • the product was defective when it left the manufacturer;
  • the defect caused the injury to the person bringing the claim.

“Strict Liability” does not mean “absolute liability.” An injured person cannot simply assert strict liability and automatically recover monetary damages for their injury. Instead, the injured consumer in asserting strict liability, must still prove their right to compensation.

3. Breach of Warranty – Every product comes with an implied warranty that is safe for its intended user. A defective product which causes injury is not safe for its intended user and thus constitutes a breach of warranty. Also, a seller or manufacturer cannot simply disclaim such a warranty and will be held responsible if its product is deemed defective. Typical examples of product liability cases include:

  • poorly designed automobiles, trucks, motorcycles, and recreational vehicles;
  • unsafe power tools and appliances;
  • hazardous children’s toys, clothing or other accessories such as car seats and cribs;
  • pharmaceuticals or other health care products that cause dangerous side-effects.

Not only is the manufacturer liable for design defects which cause injury, the merchant or distributor who sold the defective product can also be held liable in certain cases.