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The Evolution Of Product Liability Law

A recent legal news article discussed the significant changes that product liability law is undergoing on the international level. The article suggests that product liability claims are becoming much more complex and are rapidly changing in the modern world. Rather than believing these changes reflect an increase in dangers associated with products, the writing supposes that increased litigation and issues related to product liability are due to changing cultural attitudes toward risk, and a corresponding change with how consumers respond to alleged problems with product safety. While the article examines trends in products liability around the world, this blog will focus on the relevant trends in the United States.

Important Changes to the Law

The article points out several key changes that products liability law is more recently demonstrating:

Growing importance of regulatory regimes: Manufacturers and suppliers need to stay up-to-date with an ever-changing regulatory landscape. This may prove even more challenging for multinational businesses attempting to familiarize themselves with local regimes. These sometimes broad changes often speak to the essentials of the way product safety issues are regulated. A proper approach to the defense of product liability claims requires a thorough understanding of the relevant regulatory regime along with any associated risks it brings.

Increase in class action suits: Law in this area is still developing. Recent U.S. cases have indicated an inclination of the courts to expand the scope of liability for manufacturers in a way that may encourage mass claims. Some cases have even found manufacturers to be liable even when actual problems with the product have not been proven. Notable cases also saw a case proceed as a class action even where a majority of purchasers had not experienced any problem with the product. There has also been an increase in enforcement powers for regulators and penalties for businesses, which is evidenced in the U.S. by ongoing changes to the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act.

Internationalization of risk: Due the to globalization of our world, national authorities often look at developments that are occurring in other countries for leads on product safety issues. There has been action within the European Union regarding pelvic mesh product litigation that is currently pending in the United States, specifically in West Virginia. Regulators in different countries also communicate with one another about product safety and quality issues.

The impact of social media: The internet and social media allows information to easily spread between consumers and stakeholder more quickly now than ever before. Businesses are at risk who do not impose a clear and consistent approach with regards to managing product liability claims and safety issues such as recalls. Regulators are also taking advantage of the easy access to information allowed by social media. Some even monitor what companies say about themselves and their products.

Products Liability Defense Attorney

If you are a manufacturer or supplier who is being sued in a product liability case, the attorneys at Hendrickson & Long, PLLC are qualified to take on your defense. We have successful experience defending many types of product liability cases in West Virginia. Contact us today to schedule a consultation in our Charleston office.