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Chicago Product Liability Lawyers

When a company designs, labels, manufactures and sells products to consumers, it has an obligation to make sure that all of its products are tested and safe. But when a company fails to make sure one of its products is safe to use as intended, the public is put at risk. When a reasonable warning isn’t put on a product, you or someone you love could be in danger of injury.

If you’ve suffered an injury or damage because a product didn’t have sufficient safety labeling, or because a product didn’t perform as it was intended, you have the right to take legal steps to seek compensation for your injuries and any damages.

Consumers turn to the Lamber Goodnow legal team after they’ve been injured, hurt or damaged by defective products or dangerous goods. Our team of defective product attorneys, and those at our partner firms, have decades of experience holding manufacturers responsible in product liability cases. This includes both products created and distributed domestically as well as those that are imported.

Understanding Defective Products

Understanding when a product’s defect is a serious safety issue is important. Your injury could be replicated hundreds or thousands of times. In some cases, it’s critical to stop the manufacture and distribution of defective and potentially harmful products.

Defective product claims can be complicated – often, several parties can be liable because so many different groups can participate in the design, creation, manufacturing, distribution and sale of a product. Our team of attorneys collaborates with industry experts to determine whether defects are evident, what remedies are possible, and whether a product recall is necessary. Our experience also means our team is prepared to help obtain compensation, be it from a settlement or a verdict at trial, for injury or damages you or your family might have suffered.

Consumer, medical, commercial and industrial products are all subject to product liability claims. These products include:

  • Household appliances: refrigerators, washers and dryers, ovens, stoves, microwaves, water heaters, air conditioners, furnaces and more
  • Auto parts: air bags, seat belts, windows, accelerators, brakes and other components
  • Tools and hardware: ladders, drills, saws, lawnmowers, forklifts and other equipment
  • Medical devices: artificial joints, pacemakers, stents, implants, surgical mesh and other devices
  • Pharmaceuticals: prescription and over-the-counter medication, supplements, etc.
  • Children’s products: cribs, infant carriers, toys, car seats, choking hazards and more

Contact our law firm today at (312) 757-777. Speak with a lawyer right away — before speaking with any auto insurance provider if possible. Other steps you can take now!

You Have Defective Products Questions – We Have The Answers

What is an Illinois product liability case?

A product liability case arises when a person is injured as a result of a defective and unreasonably dangerous product. A person injured by a defective or dangerous product may be able to bring an action for product liability to recover damages under one of the following theories: (1) strict product liability; (2) negligence; and (3) breach of warranty.

Under strict product liability (without proof of fault), one who sells any product in a defective condition that is unreasonably dangerous to the user or consumer will be liable.[1] In order to prove a cause of action for strict liability you must prove: “(1) the injury resulted from a condition of the product; (2) the condition was an unreasonably dangerous one; and (3) the condition existed at the time the product let the manufacturer’s control.”[2]

In a product liability cause of action based on negligence, a plaintiff (injured person) must show that a defendant owed a duty of reasonable care and either failed to do something in which a reasonably careful person would have done, or did something, which a reasonably careful person would not have done.[3]

Under breach of warranty, a manufacturer may be liable if the product was either unmerchantable or unfit for the particular purpose that it was to be used when it left the manufacturer’s control.[4]  To recover for personal injuries under an implied warranty the plaintiff must prove: “(1) the plaintiff made known to the seller the purpose for which the product was purchased and the plaintiff relied on the seller’s judgment; (2) there was some defect in the product when sold which rendered it unfit for the intended use; and (3) the plaintiff’s injuries were caused by the defect.”[5]

How can a product be proven to be unreasonably dangerous?

Under the doctrine of strict liability (without proof of fault) a defective product is the same as an unreasonably dangerous product.

Therefore, a product may be found unreasonably dangerous in three ways: (1) it contains a manufacturing flaw, (broken part, missing component) or it was not made as it was intended and should have been constructed; (2) the product design is improper; or (3) the product is improperly labeled or lacks sufficient warning of its dangers.

Who can be held liable if a product causes injury?

Responsibility for a product defect that causes injury lies with all sellers of the product who are in the distribution chain, therefore, manufacturers, wholesalers and sellers may be responsible when a product causes an injury.

May I bring a breach of warranty claim if I did not purchase the product that caused my injuries?

Under the Uniform Commercial Code, which has been adopted by Illinois, a seller’s warranty extends to any person who is in the family or household of the buyer or who is a guest in the buyer’s home if it is reasonable to expect that person may use, consume, or be affected by the goods and who is injured by the breach of warranty. 810 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/2-318.

May I still recover damages if I was misusing a product?

A person may still recover damages if they have misused a product.  In Illinois before 1983, misuse of a product was a complete bar to recovery, now it will only reduce the damage amount you may receive.[6] Product liability is predicated on injuries that are caused by products that are unreasonably dangerous when used in a foreseeable manner, therefore, if a particular use should be known to the reasonably prudent manufacturer, such use cannot be labeled as unforeseeable.[7]

An example of this is a worker that was injured when he walked on oil-covered roofing panels in order to install other panels on the same roof.  The court found that he did not misuse the roofing panels that were installed.  It was foreseeable that he would need to walk on the installed roof panels in order to install the remaining panels.[8]

Is there a time limit to when I can file a lawsuit for a products liability injury?

Yes.  All states have certain time limits in which a plaintiff (injured person) must file a lawsuit or be prevented from doing so.  These time limits are called statute of limitations.

In Illinois, a lawsuit for personal injuries relating to a defective or dangerous product, must be filed within two years of the date of the accident or it will be barred. 735 Ill. Comp. Stat.  5/13-202. A lawsuit for property damage must be filed within five years of the date of the accident. 735 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/13-205. However, Illinois employs the discovery rule, which applies to cases in which a plaintiff is exposed to a harmful substance, but does not realize any ill effects until many years later. Where the discovery rule is invoked, the plaintiff must commence their action within two years after the date they first knew or should have known of the existence of a personal injury or property damage. 735 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/13-213(d).

Additionally, Illinois has a product liability statue of repose, which states that even if a claim is brought within the applicable statute of limitations it may be barred.  Under this statute an action may not be brought: (1) 12 years from the date the defective product was first sold, leased or delivered by a seller; (2) 10 years from the date the defective product was first sold, leased or delivered to its initial user, consumer or other non-seller; and (3) 10 years from the date the product was altered, if the plaintiff’s injury was caused by a product alteration. 735 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/13-213(b), (c)(2).

The statute of limitations rules for product liability are complicated; it is best to contact a personal injury attorney who has experience with Illinois law in order to accurately determine the appropriate statute of limitations for your specific situation.

How much do I need to pay upfront for my product liability lawsuit?

The Lamber Goodnow legal team operates on a contingency fee basis for personal injury matters. Our attorneys are compensated if we secure a favorable settlement or verdict. There are no out-of-pocket costs for our legal assistance.

Why Your Attorney Matters

Because product liability cases can be complex and comprehensive, it’s important to have an attorney who can understand the full reach and ramification of your issue. It’s not just about the defective product, but it’s also about your injury, the reach and breadth of the product, the potential impact to other consumers, and beyond.

With an office in downtown Chicago, and partner firms throughout Illinois, we can pair you with a product liability expert who’s ready and prepared to handle all aspects of your case.

Our No-Fee Promise

Not only are we and our partner ready to fight for you – no matter how large the manufacturer or distributor of the defective product – but we’re also ready to do it on our dime. We call this our No-Fee Promise. You won’t pay any costs up-front or for our time worked. We only get paid if and when we get a favorable settlement or jury verdict in your case. It’s just that simple.

To learn more about our team, your rights and ask us questions, call (312) 757-7777 now.  A consultation with one of our attorneys is free, and you’re under no obligation to hire us. Get in touch with us, let us talk about your case, your health and your situation, and we’ll give you an overview of your options.


[1]  Martin v. Harrington & Richardson, Inc., (1984, CA7 Ill.) 743 F2d 1200 (applying Illinois law).

[2]  Coney v. J.L.G Industries, Inc., (1983) 97 Ill. 2d 104, 73 Ill. Dec 337, 454 N.E.2d 197.

[3]  Sanchez v. Bock Laundry Machine Co., (1982, 1st Dist.) 107 Ill. App 3d 1024, 63 Ill. 378 N.E.2d 1083.

[4]  Malawy v. Richards Mfg. Co., (1986, 5th Dist.) 150 Ill. App 3d 549, 103 Ill. Dec 355, 501 N.E2d 376, app den 114 Ill. 2d 547, 108 Ill. Dec 418, 508 N.E.2d 729.

[5]  Mullen v. General Motors Corp., (1975, 1st Dist.) 32 Ill. App 3d 122, 336 N.E.2d 338.

[6]  Coney v. J.L. G. Industries, Inc., (1983) 97 Ill. 2d 104, 73 Ill. Dec 337, 454 N.E.2d 197.

[7]  Kuziw v. Lake Engineering Co., (1978, CA7 Ill.) 586 F2d 33 (applying Illinois law).

[8]  Varilek v. Mitchell Engineering Co., (1990, 1st Dist.) 200 Ill. App 3d 649, 146 Ill. Dec 402, 558 N.E.2d 365, app den (Ill.) 149 Ill. Dec 339, 561 N.E.2d 709.