Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.

Filing a product liability claim against a company

Whether it is contaminated over-the-counter medication or a faulty swing set, personal injuries caused by defective and dangerous products can lead to large medical bills and other costly expenses. When filing a personal injury claim for damages suffered as a result of a product, there are a few important pieces of information necessary to ensure you have he best chance of getting the financial settlement you are entitled to. 

Identify the type of product claim

One of the first steps you will need to accomplish is to determine which type of product claim you are dealing with. Product liability claims will typically fall into one of three categories.

  • Manufacturing defects - This type of claim is filed when it is found that there was a defect in the product that was caused during the manufacturing process. This can involve such instances as a crack in a child's toy, a food product being tainted with poisonous items at the processing plant, or a bike that is missing brake pads.
  • Design defects - A design defect is caused by manufacturing and is a flaw in the design processes that can cause a product to be dangerous. Examples of this type of claim would be a car that has a danger of explosion due to the location of the gas tank or an electric device that has a risk of overheating and catching fire.
  • Improper instructions or inadequate warnings - If a product requires specific instructions for using a product safely that would be outside of the realm of common use, they must be packaged with the instructions, as well as warnings. Failure to do so can open the manufacturer up to litigation. These type of warnings can include listed side effects on medications and material handling for dangerous chemicals.

Determine all of the players in the products distribution chain

While this part can be difficult for some products, it is a major step in increasing your chances of getting a proper settlement. There are two primary parties linked to the product that should be included in your claim although there can be multiple defendants in each category.


The manufacturer of the product will be the beginning of your claim, as they are usually responsible for both the design as well as the production of the product. If the product claim is a design flaw, you will need to include the design company as a separate defendant if they are not included in the manufacturing process. If your claim is the result of a manufacturing defect you will also want to include and control engineers responsible for maintaining production quality. You will want to include all manufacturing parties linked to the injury. For example, if the battery of a product was linked to the product explosion, include both the manufacturer of the battery, as well as the product itself.


The retailer or distributor of the defective product may share in some of the liability. Include the retail entity where you purchased the product. It is important to remember that when filing a claim against the retailer:

  • You do not have to be the original purchaser
  • You don't have to be the one who was using the product when you sustained the injury
  • You may be able to file a claim against a product that was purchased used

What if the defendant is a corporation?

In a product liability claim, a corporation is considered to be no different than a person and can be liable for damages caused by their product. It is important to note that corporations are constantly evolving through mergers, acquisitions, and even name changes, so it is important to name the corporations as well as their "successors" on a claim.

Are foreign companies liable for product injuries?

Even if you find that part of your products distribution chain involves foreign companies, you can still file a claim against them for injuries. Foreign corporations are subject the U.S court systems where they perform business functions.

Getting help with your claim

It is important when filing your claim to be sure to name all defendants involved to provide your best chance at a proper settlement. If you have been injured due to a product defect or flaw you will want to contact legal counsel immediately to help you determine all the possible defendants as well as information necessary to prove your case.

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Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.
20 Stanwix Street, Seventh Floor
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Toll Free: 866-466-5789
Phone: 412-567-1232
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