The Producer’s Liability for Damage Caused by a Defective Product: Application Conditions and Some Problematic Aspects of Dismissal of Liability

Mantas Ulozas, Lina Novikovienė

Abstract


The integration of the European Union’s internal market, abundance and diversity of goods and services stimulate excellent opportunities for consumer choice growth. However, the risk of unsafe products, unfair trade practices and poor quality services can distort the freedom of consumer choice. Therefore, this article analyzes the specific areas of civil liability—the producer’s liability for damage caused by inadequate quality products or services. The article explains the general conditions under which producers are liable for damage. These conditions are based by the author on the content disclosed in the laws of the European Union and the Republic of Lithuania.
Basically the damage caused by a defective product or service is compensated for to the victims, however, the legal relationships involved in businesses (producers or service providers) are not only their mandatory responsibilities, but also can be the subject for dismissal from civil liability. Therefore, the authors analyze the variations of the fundamental conditions of the manufacturer’s liability for the damage caused by the defective product, as well as the cases in which the producer is dismissed from the liability and the relationship between these conditions. The authors analyze the most discussion-provoking legal problems on the basis of the European Court of Justice practices. Although most of the dismissal cases derive from common business situations, according to purely logical reasoning, the authors state that it is important, innovative and corresponds to the real situation of the currently existing dismissal from liability, which is based on the lack of the scientific and technical knowledge at the moment when the product is put into circulation. The authors claim that this provision reduces the legal uncertainty of the producer concerning the potential liability of their own product, and gives a clear understanding of what security level of the product should be reached so that the producer would be dismissed from liability. The ability to follow this provision is also important for Lithuanian producers who have to position themselves in the global market that opened up for them relatively recently.

Keywords


consumer; producer; damage compensation; civil liability

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"Societal studies" ISSN online 2029-2244 / ISSN print 2029-2236