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Faulty and Defective Product Claims

We’ve all encountered a faulty product at some point. From angry children who can’t play with their new toys to vital tools that disrupt your beauty routine, defective products are usually an annoyance—but what happens when they cause a serious injury? 

If a faulty product injures you or a loved one, you have every right to make a personal injury claim. Calling 0800 234 6438 or filling out the online form gives you access to free legal advice.

A specialist will assess your eligibility and refer you to a no win no fee solicitor, who will attempt to secure compensation for your injuries.

What are defective products?

When you buy a product, you pay for the functions and quality manufacturers and retailers advertise. Unfortunately, many people invest in products only to discover they don’t perform properly or break, rendering them defective. 

In most cases, products suffer minor faults that don’t cause any safety issues – but some can jeopardise the safety of consumers and lead to severe injuries. Whilst some injuries caused by defective products can be permanent and life-changing, others are minor.

In many cases, only property is damaged by faulty goods. Depending on the circumstances and the harm, injury, and loss sustained by a defective product, you should be able to claim compensation.

Examples of defective products:

  • Faulty tumble driers, fridges and washing machines
  • Items that do not have adequate operating instructions for use
  • Faulty vehicles, such as a poor braking system
  • Medicines, food and drink, e.g. contaminated items
  • Services that are faulty, such as a computer download containing a virus
  • Toys that break easily or don’t work as advertised 
  • Beauty items that cause damage to the user What sort of injuries do defective products cause?

What is a defective product claim?

Defective product claims are legal proceedings that hold others responsible for your injuries. Faulty products can cause long-term complications and psychological damage.

As the laws clearly state that manufacturers and suppliers have a duty of care to consumers, you can file for compensation if they were negligent in your injuries.

Regardless of whether the injuries were minor or life-changing, you have the right to receive a financial award while ensuring it doesn’t happen to anyone else.

What sort of injuries do defective products cause?

A faulty or defective product can cause a range of injuries, but many people aren’t sure of whether they can actually claim compensation. Any defective product injury can be eligible for compensation – as long as you can prove you’re not at fault. Rashes, scars and burns from beauty products. 

Common injuries include:

  • Defective implants or other medical devices that cause injuries. 
  • Falling due to defective ladders or other items of furniture. 
  • Road accidents that occur due to faulty transportation. 
  • Burns and electric shocks caused by kitchen appliances or other electrical devices. 
  • Food poisoning or finding objects in food that cause illness or choking hazards.

The Consumer Protection Act

Under the Consumer Protection Act (1987), consumers have the right to safety when purchasing a product. The legislation clearly outlines consumer legal rights and establishes strict liability guidelines for manufacturers to follow, including: 

  • Determining product safety by outlining the product’s purpose
  • Establishing clear warnings and guidance
  • What the product will be used for. 

The act also clearly states that manufacturers have a legal duty to recall any products that might breach health and safety laws. Failing to do this could cause severe injuries and, in worst-case scenarios, fatalities.

Examples of product recalls

To understand the risks defective products pose, we need to examine some of the biggest faults that resulted in recalls. They include: 

  • Toyota recalled over six million cars due to seat and steering wheel issues. In this case, there were no serious accidents or injuries caused by the faults, but the vehicles posed risks to drivers (The Guardian). 
  • The 1982 Tylenol pain relief scandal caused seven deaths when the pills were laced with cyanide, resulting in the introduction of tamper-proof medicine bottles (Packaging Gateway). 
  • In 2007, Thomas and the Tank Engine toys were recalled because they contained lead, which can result in long-term disabilities and fatalities (New York Times). 
DID YOU KNOW: You don’t have to be the owner or the purchaser of the product to make a defective product compensation claim.

Who’s to blame for a defective product?

Under defective product legislation, the product manufacturer and supplier can be held liable. You can choose whether to contact the supplier or the manufacturer about making a claim – or any party involved in its production or supply.

In addition, contractual liability means any party to the contract under which you were supplied with a defective product or service can be held liable for breach of contract.

However, the context of your injury matters when making a defective product claim, as it depends on where the fault lies:

  • Own-brand products are agreements between retailers and producers. Any injuries caused by items in this category can be negligence for both parties.
  • If items were manufactured to a high standard but suffered damage during transit or at the retailer’s location, you can claim against the transportation company or retailer.

Making a product liability compensation claim

The first step in making a personal injury claim is determining your eligibility. Using the online form or calling 0800 234 6438 connects you with a specialist legal adviser who will assess the nature of your accident and any injuries you suffered.

You can only claim compensation if you prove the product was faulty and used it as intended. For example, the manufacturer isn’t at fault if an electrical item becomes wet and you use it anyway. 

Once your legal adviser has the necessary information, they’ll connect you with no win no fee personal injury solicitors who will manage your compensation claim.

Claiming under the Consumer Protection Act

In many cases, the best way to claim compensation is under the Consumer Protection Act 1987 (CPA) because you do not have to prove that the manufacturer/supplier was negligent to succeed (called ‘strict liability’). 

You can rely on the CPA as long as you can prove the product was faulty and that the injury suffered was probably caused by that defective product.

However, you cannot rely on the CPA to claim for pure economic loss, damage to business property, or the defective item itself.

Making a negligence claim

If you can’t claim under the CPA, you can make a negligence claim against the manufacturer. They owe a common law duty of care to anyone who uses their products, and failing to take precautions can result in compensation. 

Once your solicitor assesses your case, they’ll determine which route is best for your circumstances and begin compiling information to support your claim.

Claiming on a no win no fee basis

Many wonder whether making a product liability claim with a no win no fee solicitor or using a traditional lawyer is the best route. When you opt for a no win no fee compensation claim, there’s no financial risk, as you don’t pay any legal fees unless your solicitor wins the case. 

Traditional solicitors typically charge an hourly rate, and you’ll need to pay this amount whether they win or lose your case. Filing for compensation on a no win no fee basis protects you and ensures you don’t get into debt.

Negotiations with the negligent party

Once your solicitor understands your injuries and how they impact your daily life, they’ll calculate a compensation amount that will form the basis of your claim. 

Most claims go through the negligent party’s insurance provider, which means they’ll usually make a counteroffer or request more evidence. 

Negotiations can take a while, but the solicitor will update you throughout the process and offer advice on whether it’s best to settle.

Agreeing on a settlement

While rare, some defective product claims do go to court if neither party can agree on an amount. Again, your lawyer will advise whether settling or pursuing court proceedings is best. Once you agree on compensation, the lawyer will take their fees, and you’ll receive the rest of the money.

What evidence do I need for a defective product compensation claim?

While your solicitor will gather evidence on your behalf, personal injury claims go smoother when you’re able to provide proof of the incident. Not only does this give your lawyer more resources, but it can also speed up the process. 

The following types of evidence are beneficial for a faulty product compensation claim: 

  • Witnesses: If anyone witnessed the product causing your injuries, document their information and keep it for your no win no fee solicitor.
  • Medical Evidence: Medical reports of your injuries and any treatment you receive due to them provide proof of how the product has impacted your life and the ongoing complications it causes.
  • Visual Evidence: Take photographs and videos of the product to highlight the defect. You should also provide visual evidence of your injuries.
  • Packaging and Safety Manuals: Many product liability claims arise because the manufacturer forgets to add important safety information. Make sure you keep all documentation related to the product.
  • Specialist Reports: Having a specialist assess whether the product is of satisfactory quality can help to prove your faulty product claim.

Your solicitor might also check for previous cases relating to the same products, and use these as evidence when putting your case forward.

How much compensation will I receive?

Your compensation award depends on many factors, including how the injury impacts your life. Defective product claims have two categories, and these define the amount of money you receive: 

  • General Damages: Your general damages are the injury and any pain and suffering it causes.
  • Special Damages: Losses of earnings, medical expenses and any other costs associated with the accident fall under special damages.

The best way to get an idea of how much you’ll receive is by speaking to a legal adviser. However, the following compensation amounts are averages based on other cases. Please remember they aren’t guarantees:

Average Compensation Amount for Defective Product Claims

Injury Compensation Amount
Leg injuries that cause moderate damage and impaired mobility. Between £15,320 and £46,780
Serious hair damage that causes psychological distress. Between £6,890 and £10,340
Arm injuries that cause long-term pain and result in disabilities. Between £36,770 and £122,860
Minor head injuries Between £1,450 and £8,400
Hip injuries that might result in short-term disabilities Between £3,710 and £11,820
Psychological damage Up to £5,860

How long do I have to make a defective product claim?

As with all personal injury cases, you have up to three years from the date of your incident to file for compensation. However, the claims process can take a while to settle, so it’s best to make a claim ASAP to save time. 

Can I claim compensation for my child?

Yes, if your child was injured by a faulty toy or other item, you can make a children’s injury claim and receive compensation. Holding the negligent party accountable can help you recover any financial losses from leaving employment to care for your child and pay for medical or travel expenses. 

Children also have the right to file faulty product claims for up to three years after they turn 18. 

How long do product liability claims take to settle?

It depends on the amount of evidence your solicitor has and whether the other party is willing to accept responsibility. Some claims are settled within a couple of months, while others take much longer. 

Claiming immediately after your injury ensures your solicitor has enough time to negotiate and secure the desired amount.

Other Important Information

*No Win No Fee

  • Although all our cases are handled on a no win no fee basis, other costs could be payable upon solicitors request. These will be fully explained to you before you proceed. Most customers will pay 25% (including VAT) of the compensation they are awarded to their law firm, although this may vary based on individual circumstances. Your solicitor may arrange for insurance to be in place for you to make sure your claim is risk free. Termination fees based on time spent may apply, or in situations such as: lack of cooperation or deliberately misleading our solicitors, or failing to go to any medical or expert examination, or court hearing.
  • *Criminal Injury Claims

  • If you want to make a claim for a criminal injury, you are not required to use the services of a claims management company to pursue the claim. You can submit your claim for free on your own behalf, directly to the Criminal Injury Compensation Authority (England, Wales, and Scotland) or the Criminal Injury Compensation Scheme (Northern Ireland).
About the Author

Nicola Laver LLB

Nicola is a dual qualified journalist and non-practising solicitor. She is a legal journalist, editor and author with more than 20 years' experience writing about the law.

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