An Overview of Georgia’s Product Liability Laws
When you receive a dangerous or defective product, you may be able to file a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturing or distributing company. Here’s all you need to know about product liability laws in Georgia.
Consumers can recover damages under Georgia’s strict product liability law when they suffer an injury from an unaltered defective product they used as intended by the manufacturer. Product liability cases involve design defects, manufacturing defects, or warning defects. Consumers have two years to file a product liability claim if the product injured them and four years if it caused property damage.
What Is Product Liability in Georgia?
Product liability refers to a company’s responsibility for releasing a defective or dangerous product to consumers. Product liability laws require items sold to consumers to meet high standards of care. Any parties in the chain of manufacturing could be liable for breaching the standard of care with a faulty product. Since there’s no federal product liability law, states are responsible for setting requirements for proving liability in court.
Elements of a Product Liability Case in Georgia
Georgia law specifies a plaintiff must prove the following to establish product liability:
- The defendant was involved in the product’s chain of manufacturing.
- The product was defective during manufacturing, design, or selling.
- The consumer obtained the product without changes as intended by the seller.
- The product’s defect caused the plaintiff’s injury.
A defendant is only liable if the consumer used the product in a way reasonably foreseeable by the manufacturer or seller. When the consumer sustained the injury, the consumer must have used the product as intended or in an ordinary way the defendant could predict.
The consumer cannot have altered the merchandise from the time of purchase. Defendants can claim the plaintiff modified the product to make it dangerous.
Related: Is Georgia a Strict Liability State?
Georgia’s strict liability laws lessen the burden of proof needed to prove a defendant’s liability. Under strict liability, the plaintiff doesn’t have to show the manufacturer was negligent. Simply demonstrating the unaltered product caused them harm is enough to make the defendant liable. Manufacturers abiding by all regulations with care are still responsible for consumers’ injuries.
Examples of Product Liability in Georgia
There are three main types of product defects in Georgia:
Defective Designs: The product designer made a mistake in the product’s design, making it dangerous to use as intended.
Manufacturing Defects: The product’s original design was safe, but production errors made the product unreliable.
Warning Defect: The manufacturer failed to include a warning label with a clear list of dangers and instructions.
Examples of design defects include unstable furniture, excessively flammable clothing, toxic chemicals with inadequate lids, and flawed cars prone to flipping over at sharp turns.
Manufacturing defects may include improperly attached parts, incorrect bolts or screws, contamination of prescription drugs, and incorrectly-installed wires. Manufacturing defects are usually limited to a batch of the products.
Warning defects occur when a label is missing or not easily visible. For example, in Jones v. Amazing Products, Inc., the 64-year-old plaintiff claimed the warning label was too small and hard to see. Advertisement encouraging incorrect product use and inaccurate instructions constitute warning defects.
FAQs About Product Liability Laws in Georgia
How much time do I have to file a product liability lawsuit?
According to Georgia’s statute of limitations, injured consumers have two years to file a personal injury lawsuit related to a defective product. If the defective product only caused property damage, the consumer has up to four years. Georgia’s statute of repose establishes a 10-year limit for all product liability lawsuits unless the manufacturer did not warn of foreseeable risks.
Does Georgia law limit court-awarded damages from product liability cases?
Georgia’s modified comparative negligence rule only allows plaintiffs to collect damages if they are less than 50 percent liable for the injury or property damage. Courts award damages proportionately based on the plaintiff’s degree of liability. Georgia does not put a cap on compensatory damages, but the state treasury collects 75 percent of the awarded punitive damages.
What can defendants argue in a product liability lawsuit?
Defendants can claim the plaintiff incorrectly identified the party at fault for the product defect unless the case involves defective medications with multiple pharmaceutical companies. Defendants often argue the plaintiff altered the product or misused the product in a way causing the injury.
Can I file a product liability lawsuit for a loved one in Georgia?
When a person suffers an injury from a product, the person’s family can file a lawsuit in the victim’s name. George allows a person to sue even when they sustained an injury while using a borrowed product they did not buy.
What can compensation cover in a product liability lawsuit?
Damages from a product liability lawsuit can cover the following:
- Medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Property damage
- Lost wages
- Permanent disfigurement
- Punitive damages