Law Offices of Tom Plouff
tom plouff phone 312-637-9141

Product Liability

If you have been seriously injured from a defective product, you need a trial lawyer who can thoroughly investigate whether you have a meritorious case.

There are, speaking in very general terms, two types of legal theories that apply to product liability cases in Chicago. The product liability case can proceed on a strict liability theory or negligence.  There is a law in Illinois that provides for a period of “repose” for strict product liability actions of 12 years from date of first sale of the product to anyone or ten years from date of first sale of the product to the initial user of the product, whichever expires earlier. So, in general, if your product liability case is outside of those time periods you will not be able to bring a strict product liability case but you may very well have a product liability case based upon negligence.

Another law in Illinois that applies to product liability cases is the so-called distributor statute. In the case of a non-manufacturing defendant, the court shall order the dismissal of a strict liability in tort claim after the non-manufacturing defendant certifies the correct identity of the manufacturer of the product allegedly causing injury or death. So ordinarily the distributor will be dismissed from the case but there are important exceptions to this in that the distributor may not be allowed out of the case if they:

Had actual knowledge of the defect in the product which caused the injury or death;

Exercised some significant control over the design or manufacture of the product, or provided instructions or warnings to the manufacturer about what was wrong with the product that caused injury or death;

Are in a distributive chain in which the manufacturer is unlikely to pay any judgment or would be unlikely to have the resources to pay a reasonable settlement; and

Are in a distributive chain in which the plaintiff cannot bring a case against the manufacturer either because of a lack of jurisdiction over that manufacturer or the statute of limitations or repose bars the product liability case.

For a product liability case involving a “Made in China” product, the difficulty in obtaining jurisdiction over the company in China places a heightened degree of significance on identifying the importer of the “Made in China” product.

Product liability cases are one of the more complex cases handled by personal injury attorneys. I have experience in many different types of Chicago product liability cases. If you have been seriously injured from a product defective in design or manufacture and need an attorney for a case in the Chicago area, please call me now at (312) 637-9141 or contact me now.