A Guide to Claiming Defective Product Injury Compensation

If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by a defective product injury we can help.

The purpose of this guide is to help anyone who has suffered a defective product injury and is considering a legal claim for compensation. If you are looking for medical advice, please see the NHS website.

Introduction

Gardener with hedge trimmer

Introduction

Despite legislation to protect consumers against dangerous goods, accidents resulting from defective products are all too common.

The law dictates that all goods sold in the UK must be fit for purpose and safe to use. In addition, the law states that:

  • consumers must be warned about potential risks
  • information must be provided to help consumers understand the risks
  • the safety of products must be monitored
  • action must be taken if a safety problem is found

Goods may be faulty due to a design or manufacturing issue or because they have been damaged in transit or in a retail outlet. In theory, a claim could be brought against a manufacturer or a retailer.

If you have purchased faulty goods that have caused you an injury, you may be entitled to claim compensation.

Must I have purchased the goods to make a claim?

In some circumstances, the claimant does not have to have purchased the goods to make a claim, e.g. when a medical implant provided for you by the NHS fails to work properly.

The Association of British Insurers advises businesses on whether they need product liability insurance, stating "You should consider product liability insurance if your business designs, manufactures or supplies a physical product that is sold or given away for free." (source: abi.org.uk).

This means that even if you did not buy something, the people supplying it to you still have a duty to make sure you are safe.

Do I have a defective product injury claim?

As a basic rule, you will be eligible to make a defective product injury claim if your injury happened:

  • in the last three years, and;
  • someone else was at fault, and;
  • that person owed you a duty of care.

Find out if you have a claim with our Online Claim Checker:

Check my claim

Are there any exceptions?

However, there may be other considerations that mean you have a valid claim - even if the above points do not apply to you.

To find out for sure, you can speak to a defective product injury claim expert on 0800 612 7456.

A brief phone consultation will tell you exactly where you stand. We will not put you under any pressure to pursue a claim.

What if a child was injured?

The 3 year rule does not apply to minors.

A claim can be pursued for anyone under the age of 18 by a parent, guardian or litigation friend. The injured child has up to the age of 21 to start a defective product injury claim on their own behalf.

Read more about claiming injury compensation on behalf of a child.

What if I don't know who was to blame?

You should contact a solicitor as soon as possible to discuss your options. Specialist lawyers have years of experience identifying the responsible party in cases where liability is uncertain.

What if I was diagnosed months after the defective product injury?

Depending on how your defective product injury happened, the three-year time limit may only start from the date you are diagnosed and learn of the cause of your injury. In some cases, this can be months or years after the cause occurred.

How can compensation help me?

Injuries resulting from defective products can range from small cuts, bruises and burns to serious, even life-threatening injuries. Our panel of personal injury solicitors will seek to obtain maximum compensation for:

  • pain, suffering and loss of amenity
  • medical and any other treatment required to aid recovery
  • expenses you have incurred, e.g travel expenses
  • loss of earnings

Common categories of product liability claims

Medical devices and implants

It may be possible to claim for defective medical devices and implants used during treatment or operation - even if the claimant hasn't technically purchased the defective item. Examples include sodium valproate during pregnancy, human growth hormone complications, breast implants, hip replacements, knee and elbow joints, pacemakers, orthopaedic items

Dental

Claims for faulty dental products including tooth veneers, bridge, crowns and implants.

Pharmaceutical and drugs

Including Imuran, MMR and vaccinations, Myodil, Vioxxfaulty aspirin and paracetamol, faulty defibrillators, Dakon Shield, preparations and general medical items such as syringes.

Pushchairs, prams and child safety equipment

Notably, Maclaren were recently involved in a major product recall and compensation was paid to children injured as a result.

There are numerous other manufacturers of buggies and pushchairs including Abyjogger, Babystyle, Bebe Confort, Bebecar, Britax, Bugaboo, Chicco, Cosatto, Graco, Hauck, iCandy, Jané, Joie, Mamas and Papas, Maxi Cosi, Mountain Buggy, Nuna, Phil & Teds, Quinny, Safety 1st, Silvercross and Stokke.

Vehicles such as cars, motorbikes, bicycles, vans.

Claims within this category usually relate to a specific component used in the manufacture of the vehicle.

Cosmetic and beauty treatments

These can include hair dye, electrolysis, CO2 and Dot laser machines or treatment creams.

Children's toys and games

Typically these are toys that were in some way dangerous or harmful, or which fell apart becoming dangerous, causing injury as a result.

Tools and gardening equipment

Lawnmowers, hedge trimmers, strimmers ladders and stepladders, electric drills, jigsaws, planers, routers are a few examples of the sort of products that can malfunction and cause injury.

Electrical equipment

Lithium batteries, switchgear and faulty wiring.

Kitchen equipment and white goods

Household items such as faulty domestic appliances, cookers and hobs, coffee machines, hot water bottles, fridges, washing machines and other white goods.

Leisure, camping, sports and exercise equipment

Gym equipment such as running, rowing and weight training machines are often involved in causing injury. Faulty safety helmets and other protective gear, harnesses and rock climbing equipment and diving equipment.

Recreational vehicles

Boats and windsurfers, bicycles, trials and motocross motorbikes, tricycle and quad bikes, scooters, skateboards and roller skates.

How much compensation can I claim for a defective product injury?

The amount of money you could claim for your defective product injury will depend on:

  • the extent of your injury, and
  • any financial losses or costs you have incurred.

At the start of your claim, your solicitor will consider the many ways your defective product injury has affected your life. Your solicitor will take all of these effects into account to calculate the correct compensation award for you.

This calculation will factor in 'general damages' and 'special damages'.

General damages

General damages are awarded for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA).

Awards for general damages are set by the Judicial College and published in their guidelines for personal injury awards.

Special damages

Special damages are for financial losses and expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident.

What can I claim for after a defective product injury? (see list)

Examples of special damages (losses you can claim for) include:

  • Lost earnings (including future earnings)
  • Medical treatment costs
  • Physiotherapy
  • Travel costs
  • Costs of care
  • Costs of adapting your home or car

What is the average injury compensation for a defective product injury claim?

The Judicial College injury tables give a approximate idea of the ranges awarded for different injuries.

However, the money you would receive following a defective product injury will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.

Your defective product injury compensation will be calculated based on the unique impact your injuries have had on your life, your ability to work, and the actual financial losses you have incurred as a result of your injuries.

See the injury table above for some examples.

Will I have to pay tax on my defective product injury compensation?

If you receive financial compensation following a defective product injury injury, specific legislation ensures that you do not have to pay tax on it. This is the case no matter whether the compensation is received as a lump sum or as staggered payments.

Defective product injury compensation calculator

Calculating how much compensation you can claim for a defective product injury can be complicated.

Our injury compensation calculator tells you if you may have a claim, how much compensation you could claim, and what you can claim for.

Find out what your defective product injury claim could be worth now:

Calculate compensation

How long does a defective product liability claim take?

How long it can take to process a defective product liability claim can vary considerably.

For example, a straightforward liability accepted product claim can settle in a few weeks. If the defendant denies liability, a compensation claim can take significantly longer. Usually, a product liability claim will take 6 to 9 months. For more information, see:

How long will my claim take?

Will I still be able to claim for a defective product injury after the law changes in April 2020?

The law relating to personal injury claims is changing in April 2020.

You will no longer be able to claim no win, no fee compensation using a solicitor for lower value claims (under £5,000).

In addition, compensation for whiplash and other soft-tissue injuries will be reduced.

Caring and sensitive support

Your solicitor will handle your defective product injury claim from the initial consultation through to the financial settlement. In addition, your solicitor will work with other specialists to help you with:

  • Financial support: interim payments while you are unable to work.
  • Advice: on personal injury trusts, tax and welfare benefits.
  • Coordination: with rehabilitation providers and therapists.
  • Access: to treatment and therapies not always available on the NHS.

Will I get financial advice?

Your solicitor will be able to advise you on whether to accept a financial settlement for your defective product injury claim. If you require tax planning or trust advice, the solicitor will recommend and work closely with a financial adviser.

How long does a personal injury claim take?

The time needed to win a defective product claim can vary enormously. Straightforward claims may be settled in a few months, whereas some more complicated cases can take years to conclude.

This can be concerning for some claimants who may be incurring costs immediately and might not be able to work as a result of the injury. In these circumstances, it may be possible to secure interim compensation payments ahead of a final settlement.

It may not always be in the injured person's best interests to conclude a case too quickly. Further negotiation could lead to a more substantial settlement. Conversely, some insurance companies will make their best offer early in the process. An experienced solicitor will advise you of the best strategy during the course of the case.

How did your injury occur?

The claims process that your solicitor follows will vary, depending on how the injury occurred:

No win, no fee, no risk

No win, no fee means that your solicitor will not charge you any fees if your defective product injury claim is unsuccessful. 'No win, no fee' is also referred to as a 'Conditional Fee Agreement' or 'CFA'.

No win, no fee promise

Our no win, no fee guarantee means there is no financial risk in making a defective product injury claim - even if you don't win your claim.

What do I pay if I win my defective product injury claim?

Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, once your claim is settled. The solicitor's success fee can be up to 25%. You and your solicitor can agree the success fee before you start your claim.

What do I pay if I do not win my defective product injury claim?

If your defective product injury claim is not successful then you will not have to pay any fees.

Read more about making a No win, no fee claim

Is there a penalty if I withdraw?

Under a No Win, No Fee Agreement (CFA), fees may apply if a claimant refuses to cooperate, or abandons their claim after the legal work has started, or if the claim is fraudulent.

How can Quittance help?

Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, the highly-experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning injury claims.

If you have any questions, or would like to start a No Win No Fee claim, we are open 8am to 9pm weekdays, 9am to 6pm on Saturday, and 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday.

Call us FREE 0800 612 7456 or arrange a callback:

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Defective product injury FAQ's

Can I claim for someone else?

Yes. In certain circumstances, it is possible to claim compensation on behalf of another person in the capacity of a 'litigation friend'.

If an injured person is either too young or vulnerable, too injured or otherwise unable to claim on their own behalf, their litigation friend can handle the claim process on behalf of the injured person.

The litigation friend will be responsible for communicating with the solicitors, and for making decisions in respect of the claim.

Read more about claiming on behalf of another person.

Can I claim if I was partly responsible for an accident?

You may still be able to claim compensation even if you contributed to your accident or to your injuries.

However, if you were partly to blame (known as contributory negligence), your compensation may be reduced and it may be more difficult to prove liability.

Read more about claiming compensation if you were partly responsible for an accident.

How long do I have to make a defective product injury claim?

In general, you have a time limit of up to 3 years from the date of the defective product injury to make an injury claim.

The last date you can make a claim is known as the claim limitation date - after which your defective product injury claim becomes 'statute barred'.

Can I claim for a defective product injury after 3 years?

Possibly. The general rule for adults is that a claim must be started within three years.

However, the three-year countdown starts on the day you learned of your injury or illness. This will usually be the date of the accident, but could be the date your doctor gave you a diagnosis.

If you were injured as a child, you do have up until your 21st birthday to make a claim.

There other circumstances that can also impact the limitation date. Call us now on 0800 612 7456 to find out if you are still able to claim defective product injury compensation.

In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether a defective product injury claim will be taken on by a solicitor.

Calculate your claim limitation date

Will I have to go to court?

Highly unlikely. The vast majority of claims that are settled by the solicitor panel are settled out of court.

Only a very small percentage (approx. 5%) of personal injury claims go to court. Generally, only very complex cases, or those where liability cannot be resolved, end up in court.

Cases that do ultimately go to court are held in front of a judge, not a jury.

Read more: Will my injury claim go to court and what if it does?

Will I have to go to a solicitor's office?

No. You will not need visit a solicitor's office. As with most professional services, it is no longer necessary to meet face to face with your solicitor. Personal injury claims are dealt with via email, post and telephone.

Should you need to have a medical, this will be arranged at a medical centre near you or at your GP's surgery.

Read more: Will I have to visit a solicitor's office?

Can I get an early compensation payment?

If you suffer financial hardship as a result of an injury, you may be able to claim an interim compensation payment.

An interim payment is a partial settlement of your claim which is paid before your claim is concluded. The amount you receive in interim payments would then be deducted from your final compensation settlement or award.

Read more about interim compensation payments.

Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor

About the author

Howard qualified as a solicitor in 1984 and has specialised in personal injury for over 25 years. He is a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and is a recognised Law Society Personal Injury Panel expert.

Read more about this Quittance Legal Expert