Brittany Farinola

You have decided to purchase an amazing food processor that you have had your eye on for some time or maybe you have spoilt yourself with purchasing a new smart TV. Maybe you have picked up the latest smartphone at the Boxing Day sales, or finally upgraded your car.

It can be exciting when we purchase shiny new devices and appliances to enjoy and make our lives easier or more enjoyable, but what do you do when they turn out to be defective and cause injury to yourself or someone-else, or damage to property?

If you have suffered injury, loss or damage as a result of a defective good, you should be aware that you may be entitled to pursue an action against the manufacturer of the defective good under the Australian Consumer Law (“ACL”) to ensure that you are adequately compensated.

Does the good have a safety defect?

The first step is to establish whether a good has a safety defect.

A good has a safety defect if its safety is not what the community is generally entitled to expect. In determining the safety standard of goods, consideration is to be given to:

  1. The manner in which, and the purposes for which, the goods have been marketed;
  2. The packaging of the goods;
  3. The use of any mark in relation to the goods;
  4. Any instructions or warnings in relation to the goods;
  5. The time when the goods were supplied by their manufacturer.

Actions that can be taken

If the good has a safety defect which has caused injury, loss or damage, consumers have four actions available against the manufacturer of that good. These are:

  1. Liability for loss or damage suffered by an injured individual because of the safety defect;
  2. Liability for loss or damage suffered by a person other than an injured individual because of the safety defect;
  3. Liability for loss or damage suffered by a person if other goods are damaged or destroyed because of the safety defect;
  4. Liability for loss or damage suffered by a person if land, buildings or fixtures are destroyed or damaged because of the safety defect.

In the event that you have suffered injury, loss or damage as a result of a defective good, you may be entitled to compensation for loss of income, pain and suffering, medical treatment and care and assistance. If the defective good has caused damage to property, you may also be entitled to compensation for the costs of repairs and replacement.

Some examples where legal action has been taken against the manufacturer of a defective good include:

  1. Claims made for bodily burns caused by faulty kitchen appliances;
  2. Claims made for injury caused by airbags rupturing when deployed causing shrapnel to be fired at occupants in the vehicle;
  3. Claims made for serious and debilitating side effects caused by faulty pelvic mesh implants.
  4. Claims made for water damage caused by a washing machine.

Time Limitations

It is important to remember that a defective goods action is to be commenced within 3 years after the time the person became aware, or ought to have reasonably become aware, of all of the following:

  1. The alleged loss or damage;
  2. The safety defect of the goods;
  3. The identity of the person who manufactured the goods.

However, subject to the above, a defective goods action must be commenced within 10 years of the supply by the manufacturer of the defective goods.

What should you do next?

If you believe that you have purchased a good with a safety defect which has caused injury, loss or damage, then you should be prompt in obtaining legal advice regarding your available course of action.

Making a claim for compensation may seem daunting and costly but our team of experienced compensation lawyers are here to help and guide you through the process.

Contact us to arrange a free 30-minute case assessment to help understand your rights and assist with lodging a claim, often on a no-win/no-fee basis.