Imagine this. After scrimping and saving, you’ve finally bought the new car that you’ve been wanting for years. It’s a watershed moment in your life and you feel on top of the world as you proudly drive it out of the car yard.
You decide to take it for a spin in the countryside, but on the way you brake to stop at a red traffic light. You are horrified to find that the brakes have failed and in an instant you’ve ploughed into a wall of traffic.
You’re seriously injured, the car is wrecked and three other drivers are injured and their cars written-off. It’s a disaster for you and for them, all because, through no fault of your own, a key safety feature on your new car failed at a crucial moment.
This kind of scenario can raise a number of legal issues, including product liability.
What is product liability?
When you buy products or use services, Australian Consumer Law (ACL) acts to protect you. Under ACL, every product and service is guaranteed that it will work properly. Products must be safe and fault-free, not be disfigured and do everything that you would expect. So a car should have brakes that work properly each and every time.
Services must be provided with care and skill and precautions should be taken to avoid loss or damage. They must also be fit for purpose and provided in a reasonable time frame.
Product liability arises when the product or service does not meet these criteria.
What can be done?
In most cases if you have received a faulty product or service, you can fix the problem yourself by contacting the manufacturer or service provider and making a complaint. Most will fix the problem there and then.
If that doesn’t work the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) provides advice about resolving problems. You can make a complaint to the ACCC if the manufacturer or service provider hasn’t resolved the issue.
Sometimes, the issue is so serious that these actions will not resolve the matter, regardless of how willing the manufacturer is to fix the problem.
In our car example, the police may have been involved and there is potential for a charge of dangerous driving. The other drivers may be seeking compensation for personal injury and damage to their vehicles and your own injuries look like they will be ongoing. You will need significant compensation as well as a replacement car.
You may need to consider taking legal action.
Legal action can be taken for product liability when loss or damage has been suffered. This can include:
- Personal injury
- Injury or death to other people
- Economic loss where someone else’s property is damaged.
In these circumstances, you can make a legal claim for compensation. You may be able to take action under ACL but you may also be able to make a common law claim, which means that a court will look at previous similar decisions to decide whether you should get compensation and how much.
Although this can be complicated, an experienced product liability lawyer can guide and advise you, making the whole process far less stressful.
It is important to e get legal advice soon as the issue arises. This is the best way to try and ensure an outcome that’s right for you.
Websters Lawyers have product liability specialists as well as a team of lawyers who practise in a range of legal areas. If your claim involves more than one area of law, you’ll know that we have you covered.
FREE FIRST INTERVIEW
NO WIN NO FEE
LOCAL LAWYERS FOR LOCAL NEEDS
GET THE RIGHT LAWYER FIRST
Having such a short time frame I was very impressed with the outcome made by [my solicitor]. Excellent and timely manner
Very professional mannerism and overall great outcome was delivered by Websters Lawyers.
West Ryde NSW
Helpful, explained fully, patient, excellent service.
Patient and helpful in explaining the process.
Call Websters Lawyers for a most professional and friendly service. All understanding with [my solicitors] and the reception staff. Thank you so much.
Making my will was effortless on my part, with everything explained clearly. Well done to all.
Great service, professional, explains things clearly, definitely recommend Websters Lawyers.
Patient, professional, good communication about procedures and probable outcomes.
Thank you for all your work over the course of the case. You [both] were always very approachable and I appreciated your understanding and professionalism in all areas.
All in all my experience was great. Thank you for your time and expertise.
My matter was dealt with efficiently and was explained in an understandable language. A pleasant experience.
Practical and very helpful. Reasons and explanations given where needed
I stumbled across Websters in the Yellow Pages and I rang, explained my situation and immediately they took my case on. Greatly appreciate their services.
The service from Websters Lawyers was outstanding. [My solicitor] was caring, had patience and was very professional. Wonderful personality.
[My solicitor] made everything so simple to understand. [The receptionist] was wicked too, would recommend them anytime. Level of entire service was outstanding.
I had dealings with Websters over 20 years ago. They were my first choice when I recently needed legal advice. Both legal and office staff were professional, courteous and accessible at all times. Everything was explained up front in a clear and concise manner. I would not hesitate to recommend their services.
It has truly been a pleasure communicating with you throughout the process. I really appreciate your patient and speedy replies to my questions and requests. You were always able to provide an easily understood response and this helped me deal with the process. Your friendly and positive manner encouraged me to seek your advice.
Battery Hill QLD
[My lawyer's] service was prompt and efficient with all questions explained clearly with all our requests carried out within the laws. Overall service was very satisfactory.
[My lawyer] was excellent.
Excellent service. Professional. Clear advice and instructions. Prompt actions. Overall 10/10!
Overall, I was happy with my outcome and my lawyer, would definitely recommend [my lawyer].
[My solicitor] was excellent at helping us through preparing our wills which were particularly challenging as they involved assets in multiple countries. She was professional and knowledgeable and spent time tailoring the wills to our needs.
[My solicitor] was very helpful, respectful and polite. She made sure I understood the process and documentation of our wills.
Professional. Smooth Transaction.
I found the whole experience from Receptionist to Solicitor excellent. They completely put us at our ease.
This was a new experience for us and didn’t have a clue what to do. [Our solicitor] on our first visit put us at ease, explained what will happen, pointed out there was a strong case. [Our solicitor] was genuine in her approach, kept us well informed, explained actions several times with patience and understanding. Overall very happy with the service we received.