Georgians use countless products every day, from koozies to keep sweet tea cold to prescriptions for fighting that famous Georgia pollen. A product liability lawsuit is the legal action you take when products like these or others cause you injury or property damage. If you're harmed by a defective product, you may be able to receive compensation from the manufacturer.
Legal Basis for Product Liability Lawsuits
Types of Product Defects
In defective design cases, the claim is that the manufacturer intended for the product to turn out the way that it did, and that that design is unreasonably dangerous. The product is unreasonably dangerous if the risks inherent in a product design outweigh the benefit of the product designed in that way. Courts will often look at whether the manufacturer could have used a reasonable alternative design which would have been safer.
In manufacturing defect cases, the claim is that although the product was designed to be safe, something went wrong during the manufacturing process that produced an unsafe product.
A plaintiff may also argue that the manufacturer had a duty to warn people of nonobvious, foreseeable dangers arising from the normal use of its product. This duty exists even after the product is sold, and extends to users, consumers, and purchasers.
Overview of Georgia Product Liability Laws
The table below provides summaries of important aspects of Georgia's product liability laws as well as links to relevant statutes. Please remember that while a summary is helpful, your research should include reading the text of the statute for yourself as well.
Georgia Code, Title 51, Chapter 1:
|Statute of Limitations||
The statute of limitations for filing a product liability lawsuit is:
Under Georgia's discovery rule, the time is measured from when you discovered (or should have discovered) both the injury and the defective product's role in causing it.
|Statute of Repose||
Georgia's statute of repose bars recovery for injuries occurring more than 10 years after the first sale of the product for use or consumption. This rule applies to strict liability claims and some negligence claims, but not to allegations regarding a manufacturer's failure to warn.
Georgia Code, Title 51. Torts
Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Limits on Damages
Georgia product liability laws limit damages in some product liability cases. Under the modified comparative negligence rule, you may not recover damages if you were 50 percent or more at fault for causing the injuries or property damage. If you were less than 50 percent at fault, you may recover damages, but they'll be reduced in proportion to the degree to which you were to blame. So, a $100,000 award will be reduced by $40,000 if you were 40 percent at fault.
Georgia also has its own economic loss rule where you're not allowed to file a product liability suit if the only damage was to the product itself, not to any person or other property. However, Georgia law does provide an exception to this rule for sudden and calamitous events which cause a risk of injury to people or other property. Another exception exists for when a purchaser relies on misrepresentation.
Lastly, there's no cap on punitive damages in Georgia, but the state does take 75 percent of punitive damages awarded in product liability cases.
Georgia Product Liability Laws: Related Resources
Get Legal Help with Your Product Liability Issue in Georgia
If you've been harmed by a defective product, the manufacturer or seller of the product should be held accountable, and should help cover the costs of that damage. To learn more, contact a local product liability attorney in your area who will be familiar with Georgia's product liability laws and can explain how they apply to your unique situation.
Contact a qualified attorney.