If you are injured on the job, there is a section in the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act called the Exclusive Remedy Provision. It provides that there is no common law or statutory right to recover damages from the employer other than workers’ compensation. A recently published article by the American Association for Justice in their Trial Journal publication, discusses the possibility of a products liability claim within a workers’ compensation case. It advocates, “every workplace accident that involves a product should be reviewed to determine whether there is a potential products liability cause of action.”
What does this mean for an injured worker? If the injury involved a defective product, the worker may have a claim against the manufacturers, distributors, or retailers responsible for their injury. Products liability refers to the liability of any or all parties along the chain of manufacture of any product for damage caused by that product.
What can make a company liable for a defective product? First, there could be a design defect. That is, if the product is unreasonably dangerous and technology exists that could be used to make the product safer. Or, there could be a manufacturing defect if the product does not work as it should or is not manufactured as it is intended to be. If the product does not have a sufficient warning about possible dangers, it could also be defective in its ability to protect the product’s user from injury.
In any case, if a worker is injured using a product, a products liability cause of action may be an important action to consider and possibly investigate. The theory behind a products liability claim is that by holding the manufacturers, distributors, or retailers responsible for producing a dangerous and defective product, industry standards will remain high.