Product liability—claims in negligence

The following PI & Clinical Negligence practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Product liability—claims in negligence
  • The duty of care
  • Parties
  • Claimant
  • Defendants
  • Defect
  • Manufacturing defect
  • Design defect
  • Marketing defect
  • Causation
  • More...

Product liability—claims in negligence

The duty of care

The general principles of negligence apply, namely that the claimant has to establish that the defendant owed them a duty to take reasonable care to avoid property damage or personal injury resulting from the defective product. The claimant must also prove that the breach of the duty of care caused the claimant damage. The court will assess whether a manufacturer has exercised reasonable care in relation to their product by considering the circumstances of the case, including:

  1. the likelihood of the injury happening

  2. the extent of the injury

  3. was the danger concealed or obvious

  4. relevant safety standards

  5. the benefits of the product

  6. the cost of reducing or eliminating risk

In general, there can be no claim in negligence for pure economic loss. There must be personal injury or damage to property other than the product supplied in order to bring a claim in negligence. Therefore, a property owner who discovers a major defect in windows that presents an imminent risk of them falling out and injuring passers-by cannot bring a claim for recovery of the costs of the necessary remedial work against a negligent manufacturer (they would have to bring a claim for breach of contract, assuming they had a contract with the manufacturer of the windows).



Product liability claims can arise from a broad range of activities and occurrences.

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