If a defective product injury has set you back, we'll help you move forward
If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by a defective product injury, we can help. If your injuries were caused by a defective product, you may be entitled to claim compensation.
You can make a defective product compensation claim with the help and support of a personal injury solicitor.
In this article
You are not alone
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.
If you decide to make a defective product injury claim, your personal injury solicitor will take you through every step of the claims process. Your solicitor will be with you until you win your claim and get the compensation you deserve.
Am I eligible for defective product injury compensation?
You should be entitled to defective product injury compensation if your injury resulted from the negligence or actions of another person or organisation, or from an accident that was not your fault.
Use our injury claim calculator to find out if you can claim. Or you can call 0800 376 1001 to speak to a specialist advisor. Find out in minutes if you have a claim.
My injury was partly my fault - can I still claim?
Cases where the defendant and claimant are both partly to blame are actually quite commonplace in personal injury claims.
In our 2023 Personal Injury Claimant Survey, 13.99% of respondents believed they were partly responsible for their injuries, or were uncertain.
You may still be able to claim compensation even if your actions may have contributed to the accident. Claims where there is fault on both sides (contributory negligence) are often resolved with a split liability agreement.
How long do I have to claim defective product injury compensation?
In most cases, you have up to 3 years from the date of your accident or injury to start a claim.
For an injured child, the three-year limitation period begins on their 18th birthday, giving them until they are 21 to start a claim.
How much compensation can I claim for a defective product injury?
The amount of money you could claim for your injury will depend on:
- the seriousness 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 injuries have affected your life. Your solicitor will take these considerations into account to calculate the correct compensation award.
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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 are for financial losses and expenses you have incurred because of your accident. In addition to paying compensation for lost earnings, bonuses and overtime, special damages can cover any care costs and medical procedures you need, such as pain medication and psychological support.
Must I have purchased the goods to make a claim?
In some circumstances, you do 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).
Even if you did not buy the defective product that injures you, the company supplying it to may still be liable to pay your compensation.
How can compensation help me?
Injuries resulting from defective products can range from small cuts, bruises and burns to serious, even life-threatening injuries.
Your solicitor will help you to claim compensation for all the losses and expenses you have suffered, including:
- 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
Children's car seats and booster seats
Car seat manufacturers are liable for the safety of the products they manufacture. As well as ensuring that the car seats they manufacture meet minimum European safety standards, they must:
- give full instructions about the proper use of the car seat
- warn customers about the potential risks of the car seat
- monitor the safety of the car seats they manufacture
- take the necessary action, such as a product recall, if a safety problem is found with their products.
Sometimes a manufacturer will follow the safety rules and still a child is injured due to a defect in the car seat. In this scenario, the manufacturer is still liable for your child's injury, regardless of whether they were at fault or not. This is known as 'strict liability'.
It does not matter whether the manufacturer is aware of a defect before the car seat hits the retail stores - if a defect causes injury, you may have the right to receive compensation.
A car seat might only be defective because it has been poorly fitted in the vehicle or the child has not been harnessed in accordance with the manufacturer's operating instructions.
In this scenario, a Court may decide that the person driving the car in which the child was injured was wholly or partly to blame for the child's injuries, even if they were not to blame for the accident itself. Often, this person will be the child's parent.
In one such case, a mother involved in a collision between two cars near Wrexham was found to have contributed towards her three year old daughter Emma's injuries, even though the other driver was entirely to blame for the accident.
That's because Ms Williams, the child's mother, has strapped her daughter into an inappropriate booster seat. Had Emma been strapped into an age-appropriate car seat, she probably would have suffered only minor injuries. Crucially, the manufacturer's instructions pointed out that the booster seat was not suitable for a child of Emma's height, weight and age.
The court decided that Ms Williams was 25% responsible for her daughter's injuries and was therefore liable to pay 25% of the compensation due to her daughter. The other driver was ordered to pay the remaining 75%. The quality of the booster seat itself was not a factor in this case as the operating instructions clearly warned of the danger.
Settlements of this nature are referred to as 'split liability agreements'.
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.
If a dangerous toy is unlawfully imported into and sold in the UK, you can usually claim compensation from the importer or retailer (rather than the foreign manufacturer).
Cosmetic and beauty treatments
These can include hair dye, electrolysis, CO2 and Dot laser machines or treatment creams.
Claims for faulty dental products including tooth veneers, bridge, crowns and implants.
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.
Medical devices and implants
You may be able to claim for defective medical devices and implants used during treatment or operation - even if you haven't technically purchased the defective item.
Examples include defective sodium valproate prescribed during pregnancy, human growth hormone complications, breast implants, hip replacements, knee and elbow joints, pacemakers, and orthopaedic devices.
Pharmaceutical and drugs
You may be able to claim compensation for injuries or illness caused defectively-produced medication or medical items, such as Imuran, 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.
Boats and windsurfers, bicycles, trials and motocross motorbikes, tricycle and quad bikes, scooters, skateboards and roller skates.
If you are injured by a defective vehicle you have rented, your solicitor will likely make a claim against the rental company or venue where you rented the vehicle, rather than the manufacturer or retailer.
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.
Some of these items are inherently dangerous, but if you can prove that your injury was caused a defect rather than incorrect usage, you should be able to claim.
If you plan to make a claim, you should keep the broken equipment if you can, or take many photos and video of the defects if not.
Vehicles such as cars, motorbikes, bicycles, vans.
Claims within this category usually relate to a specific component used in the manufacture of the vehicle, such as a defective airbag.
How did your injury happen?
The compensation claims process will depend on where and how your defective product injury occurred. Click the icons below for more information:
How we can help you with your injury claim
Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, and the highly-experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning injury claims.
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Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher
About the author
Gaynor Haliday is an experienced legal researcher and published author. She has had numerous articles published in the press and is a legal industry commentator.