Michigan law permits injured persons to recover damages from companies that created the product that hurt them. We have of the strictest tort laws in the country, and in some cases, recovery is limited completely. Tom Sinas, Grand Rapids personal injury attorney, explains everything you need to know about Michigan’s product liability law.
Recovering Damages from Product Defects
Michigan’s product liability law differs significantly from similar laws across the country and is an area that drastically restricts consumer protections.
According to Michigan’s product liability law, a defect or a problem with the product must have caused the injury in order to recover damages. The injured person must prove that the product wasn’t safe and there was an alternative to the way it was manufactured and that alternative manufacturing wouldn’t impede the product’s use. In addition, they must prove the defect the manufacturer was responsible for, and that said defect was the direct cause of the injury.
If the injured party is able to prove all of these things, Michigan law further outline damage caps for product injuries. Damage caps limit the amount of money an injured person can recover. These caps are $280,000 for non-economic damages and $500,000 for the loss of vital bodily function.
Drug Manufacturer Immunity from Product Liability Laws
If the injury sustained is a result from a pharmaceutical drug, then unfortunately, due to Michigan’s product liability laws, the injured person is unable to receive damages since drug manufacturers have immunity from this law. Michigan is the only state that grants immunity to these manufacturers. In a product liability action, a product that is a drug is not considered defective or unreasonably dangerous so long as it was approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration.
The only exceptions pharmaceutical manufacturers do not have immunity for is if (1) they were intentionally withholding or misrepresenting information to the FDA; or (2) making illegal payments to the FDA.