When a manufacturer offers a warranty on their product, consumers have an easier time understanding what to expect from the product. If a manufacturer states that a product can perform some task or last so many years, it is clear what the manufacturer is promising.
But does this mean that products only have to do what is explicitly promised by the manufacturer? In addition to explicit warranties, is there such a thing as an implied warranty in product liability law?
Product liability law can be difficult to grasp, but product liability lawyers like those at Lowe Eklund Wakefield Co., LPA continue to help Ohioans understand their rights and their next steps following a product-related injury. While careless manufacturers and greedy businesses have no shortage of ways to elude liability for their unsafe products, an experienced attorney from Lowe Eklund will fight for you and your family.
So if you or a loved one were injured by a product without an explicit warranty, can you still pursue a product liability claim?
Ohio Product Liability Law
Current Ohio product liability law recognizes four separate ways in which a product may be defective:
- Manufacture or Construction Defect
- Design or Formulation Defect
- Inadequate Warning or Instruction Defect
- Failure to Conform to Manufacturer’s Representation Defect
Failure to conform to the manufacturer’s representation about the product is considered a defect under Ohio law. But this defect appears to deal with actual representations made, i.e., express warranties. What about an implied warranty?
What Is an Implied Warranty in the Context of Product Liability?
An implied warranty is a legal obligation that the law will recognize in the absence of explicit warranties or promises by a product manufacturer. An implied warranty exists as a matter of circumstances and the exact nature of the implied warranty will vary depending on the type of product involved.
For example, imagine purchasing an ordinary hammer. Nothing on the hammer or its packaging states that the hammer can be used to hit nails, but you buy it for that purpose because it is a hammer and that’s what hammers are for. When it comes time to use the hammer, you swing it in the ordinary fashion to drive a nail into a piece of wood. But, to your surprise, upon impact the hammer shatters into a hundred metal shards upon impact, causing you to receive laceration and puncture injuries.
Now imagine if the manufacturer responded to your injury claims by stating, “We never intended for consumers to use our product to hit nails. In fact, our packaging and marketing never said that you could use this hammer to hit nails.”
What prevents manufacturers from escaping liability in this way? The implied warranty. Because of the expectations that consumers reasonably hold about how a hammer is meant to be used, a manufacturer who sells a hammer is expected to make hammers that are capable of hitting nails. Manufacturers are free to limit the use of hammers (or any other product) but they are expected to clearly and explicitly state or warn of the limitations to their product. Otherwise, the law recognizes an implied warranty that their product performs the ordinary functions of that type of product.
Thus, under Ohio’s current statute, the hammer involved would certainly be defective.
Ohio Product Liability Lawyers are Here to Help
If you or a loved one were injured by a defective product, appliance, tool, or vehicle, you do not have to face your future alone. Call or email Lowe Eklund Wakefield Co., LPA now and let us fight for you.