Frequently Asked Questions
Consumer protection is a broad area of law that includes product liability and faulty products. Maurice Blackburn’s lawyers are experienced with helping people with legal matters such as defective products claims that cause serious and permanent injury.
Under Australian Consumer Law, if you suffer loss or damage because of safety defects in a manufacturer's goods, when supplied in trade or commerce, you can take the manufacturer to court for via a claim for compensation. To do so, you have to show that:
- the manufacturer or producer owed you a duty of care
- this duty was breached (meaning the manufacturer either failed to do something it should have or did something it should not have)
- this failure caused you to suffer an injury, which will need to be supported by medical evidence.
Loss and damage can include injuries to the person making the claim, or injuries or death to another individual; and economic loss caused by damage to—or destruction of—another good, plot of land, building or fixture.
Compensation may cover:
- replacement and repair costs
- medical costs (including future costs)
- lost income
- pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment of life
- home help and attendant care.
If you think you have a claim you should:
- seek medical treatment immediately and tell your doctor how you were injured
- keep records and receipts of all medical expenses and the dates of all medical consultations
- keep records and receipts of any wages you have lost as a result of your injury
- take photos of your injuries if possible, and always keep the product that caused your injury.
Manufacturers owe a duty of care to consumers who purchase and use their products. A manufacturer owes a duty to the consumer to take 'reasonable care' in the manufacture of the product, with the knowledge that the absence of reasonable care will result in an injury to the consumer or damage to their property.
A product has a safety defect if its safety is not what the community is generally entitled to expect. While the level of safety will vary from case to case, it is ultimately for the court to determine whether a product has a safety defect. There are various factors the court will consider when making its decision, including:
- how and for what purposes the product has been marketed
- the product's packaging
- the use of any mark in relation to the product
- instructions for, or warnings about, assembling and using the product
- what might reasonably be expected to be done with the product
- the time when it was supplied.
A product will not necessarily be considered safe just because it complied with a Commonwealth mandatory standard.
Expected levels of safety differ for older products because they cannot be expected to be as safe as brand new products. Similarly, older models of products would not necessarily be considered defective simply because more recent models have improved safety features.
The product liability provisions of the Australian Consumer Law will generally apply to a manufacturer that supplies the goods in trade or commerce. A manufacturer includes a company that:
- makes or puts together the product
- imports the product, if the maker of the goods does not have an office in Australia
- uses its own brand name in relation to the product
- presents itself to the public as the manufacturer of the product
- permits another person to promote the product as having been manufactured by the company.
A retailer can also be the manufacturer of a product and therefore liable.
Our Queensland team will assist you with your claim and ensure your know about your rights and entitlements.
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