Defective product

Problem

A defective television explodes when it is turned on: the owner of the television is unharmed, but his girlfriend is seriously injured in the face and there is extensive property damage. The victim and the owner wish to claim damages to cover the damage caused by the defective product.

The Product Liability Act provides appropriate solutions to the problems raised by this type of situation.

Products concerned

The objects concerned by the Product Liability Act are numerous. What about buildings, cars or pharmaceutical products?

Damage Covered

The Product Liability Act covers only two types of damage, namely personal injury and property damage, as long as they exceed the legal amount and meet several conditions.

Right of action

Defective products can cause damage to the owner of the product in question, but also to his relatives or neighbors. However, these third parties are not bound by a contract with the seller or producer of the defective product.

Can third parties turn directly to the seller of the object? Or is it in any case up to the owner of the object to act?

Limitation of liability

On closer inspection, the owner of the object has an unpleasant surprise when reading the general conditions or the purchase contract. The seller of the object has in fact stipulated that he is in no way responsible for damage caused by defects in the product sold. Is this legal?

Imported product

When the customer turns to the seller of the object, the seller retorts that the customer should claim damages from the company that created the object. However, the company's headquarters are in China! What can the customer do?

Prescription

Some damages, especially those due to asbestos, only appear after several years. Sometimes, the victim of the damage is slow to assert his rights. Can the victim turn against the person responsible years after the damage occurred?

Producer

The law on product liability provides that the producer of the product is responsible for the damage created by the defective object. This notion is particularly broad and covers a number of potentially liable persons.

Release

The producer can be released from his responsibility under certain conditions. He will not be held responsible for the damage caused by the defective product in certain situations. 

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