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Wisconsin Products Liability

What is products liability?  Products liability is a way of getting compensation for injuries caused by a product.  What is a product?  A product is anything man made.  For example, an automobile, a home appliance, a drug, a machine, a chemical, a tool, really anything that is manufactured, changed, bottled or packaged. 

When can an injured person recover for injuries caused by a product?  Recovery for injuries caused by a product depends on whether the product was in some way defective; in other words that there was a defect in the product, a flaw, or a failure in some manner.  Who is responsible or liable for the injury caused by a product?  The responsible party can be the manufacturer, the distributor or wholesaler, the seller or the reseller or a maker of a part within the product that fails.  Injuries from products can happen at work, at play or recreation, and at home. 

There are three major types of product liability claims:

  1.  manufacturing defect,
  2.  design defect, and;
  3.  a failure to warn (also known as marketing defects).


Manufacturing defects are those that occur in the manufacturing process and usually involve poor-quality materials or shoddy workmanship.

Design defects occur where the product design is inherently dangerous or useless (and hence defective) no matter how carefully manufactured; this may be demonstrated either by showing that the product fails to satisfy ordinary consumer expectations as to what constitutes a safe product, or that the risks of the product outweigh its benefits.

Failure-to-warn defects arise in products that carry inherent nonobvious dangers which could be mitigated through adequate warnings to the user, and these dangers are present regardless of how well the product is manufactured and designed for its intended purpose.