In Australia, consumer law generally protects you if you buy certain products that turn out to have defects. Manufacturers have to comply with these laws in order to make available goods for sale in the first place. If you feel that you have been injured in some way, what recourse do you have?
What's the Liability?
Manufacturers, whether they make or assemble a product, import them into the country, use their own brand name or promote themselves as the manufacturer must stand behind their products in the marketplace. In this respect, the legal system determines that the products must be safe to a level that 'the public is entitled to expect'. As you might imagine this can be open to interpretation, but in general several factors will be taken into account. These include the purpose for which the product was made, any instructions or warnings given, a 'reasonable expectation' and other elements such as packaging, trademarks and supply date.
How to Be Clear with Your Details?
In your case, it's important to be clear of the circumstances involved. Fundamentally, the manufacturer will probably only be liable if the safety defect was in existence at the time of supply. You should therefore ensure that you have not modified the product at all in the process of use. This can also get a bit tricky if the product in question was just a part of a larger, finished product. Then, it may be challenging to determine whether the manufacturer of the larger project is liable or the defect relates to the component itself.
What Can Be Claimed?
Consumers can generally seek compensation if they have sustained 'loss or damage'. This can involve injuries or death to you or another or economic loss caused by damage to your possessions.
If you've suffered in this way, then you can do one of two things. You can engage a solicitor to help you take the manufacturer through the legal system and get a judgement by the court, or you can reach out to a consumer protection agency. It's always advisable to try and reach a settlement with the manufacturer before going to court, but your solicitor will be able to help you choose your course of action.
What Can You Look out for?
Remember that the manufacturer will have very competent and very highly skilled legal representatives of their own. The case put forward will in large part determine just how much compensation is due, if any. The manufacturer may seek to try and prove that you or the other injured person may have contributed to the loss in some way in order to contain the amount payable.Share
16 November 2016
When you are a small company it can be a little scary to enter into business relationships with much larger companies. Larger companies have a lot more resources to protect themselves if there is a dispute. That's why it's important to have a smart lawyer on your side to help you draft the most watertight agreements possible. This blog has some tips that I have picked up over the years on how to make sure that you are legally protected when dealing with big companies, as well as some tips on how to choose a great business lawyer for your business.