When a Defective Product Causes an Injury

A person who is injured by a defective product can sometimes recover damages—whether that’s personal injury damages, property damages, or purely economic loss—based on a breach of warranty claim. A warranty is a promise which guarantees something is of good quality.

Implied Warranties. When a seller sells a good to a buyer, the seller automatically makes an implied promise to the buyer that the good is of acceptable quality and that it is fit to be used for its ordinary purpose. Also, when a seller knows or has reason to know that a buyer is looking to buy a good for a specific purpose (for example, say a buyer says he is looking for shoes to wear while hiking) and the buyer relies on the seller’s skill and judgment in choosing the good to purchase, then the seller makes an implied warranty that the product is fit for the particular purpose the buyer wanted it for.

Express Warranties. An express warranty is an explicit promise by the seller, either written or spoken, about a particular good, and such promise is part of the reason the buyer decides to buy the good. For example, say you are considering purchasing a sofa. One of the many sofas you find has a tag on it stating that the seat cushions won’t wear out, or if they do, the sofa company will send you free replacement cushions. That sounds good to you, so you choose to buy that specific sofa, in part, because of that express warranty.

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