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Product Liability and Consumer Law Explained

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Please note that this post was written for Victorian audiences and the information within may not apply to other regions.

What is a Product Liability claim? 

You may have heard of Australian Consumer Law (‘ACL’) being used to get a replacement if your TV or washing machine are faulty, but did you know that the same laws provide compensation if you are injured due to a faulty product?

This category of claims is often referred to as product liability and allows the injured party to claim compensation if a product is not:

  • Safe;
  • Durable;
  • Free from defects; or
  • Fit for purpose.

You might also be able to make a claim if a service is provided which is not provided in a safe manner or with the proper level of skill required.

What is covered under Product Liability and Consumer Law claims?

The ACL is intended to protect consumers and a person will be automatically covered for any product or service valued at less than $40,000. If a product or service exceeds this amount you will still be covered if the product or service is acquired for personal or household use.

This broad definition allows a claim to be made for almost any product or service which you would normally purchase. Examples of successful product liability claims include injuries caused by:

  • Foreign objects in food;
  • Faulty appliances;
  • Poor workmanship by trades people; and
  • Defective gym and exercise equipment.

If it can be established that a product had a safety defect, there is no need to show that the manufacturer knew about it or was negligent in order to make a claim. This is referred to as a ‘strict liability’ and provides greater protection to the everyday consumers.

Even if a product is manufactured overseas and resold in Australia by a third party you can often pursue the third party for compensation.

Tips for making a claim

In order to assist in making a successful claim there are a few simply things that you can do:

  • Keep a record of where and when you purchased the product or service;
  • Take photographs of any defects or concerns with the product or service;
  • If you are injured, ensure you seek medical advice and report your injuries including what caused them; and
  • Seek legal advice early in order to ensure the best chance of making a successful claim.

Can I make a product liability claim?

If you are unsure about whether or not you might be entitled to make a Product Liability claim, contact our office for further information. Zaparas Lawyers acts on a ‘No Win, No Fee’ basis. In simple terms, this means that in the unlikely event that we don’t secure compensation for you, we will not charge you for any of our professional fees.

It is important to note that strict time limitations apply to Product Liability claims. Contact us today on (03) 8527 0200 to arrange an obligation-free appointment with one of our specialist Public Liability Lawyers.