Product liability

Manufacturers and distributors of a product are liable for injury caused by damaging qualities of the product arising from its use, consumption or storage.

Product liability

  • In order to establish liability, four basic conditions must be met:
    1. The damage must have occurred to a human or property.
    2. The damage must be attributed to the product and not to real estate or a service.
    3. The product must be defective, e.g., not as safe as a expected after a reasonable assessment in terms of safety regulations, normal use and how the product was offered and presented.
    4. The claim must be made against the product's manufacturer, importer or commercial distributor.
  • The claimant must prove that he or she sustained the damage, what the damage is, and that the damage can be attributed to defect. If the claimant bears some degree of liability for the damage, then the compensation may be reduced accordingly or disallowed entirely.
  • The manufacturer bears no responsibility if it has not distributed the product that caused the damage, if the production or distribution was not commercial in nature, if it was not possible to verify that the product was defective based on the knowledge that existed when the product was distributed, or if the product defect can be attributed to an official mandatory provision.
  • No contract or agreement entered into in advance may preclude the the rights of the claimant to the effect that his or her rights are lessened. However, it is permitted for more beneficial rights to be agreed for the claimant. Once the damage has occurred, however, the parties are fully permitted to negotiate the terms of the claims.
  • The statute of limitations on claims for compensatory damages is three years after the claimant sustained or became aware of the damage, defect, and name and address of the manufacturer, and ten years after the manufacturer distributed the product. 

Links of interest

Laws and regulations