| Read Time: 5 minutes | Product Liability

Several types of warranties relate to the sale of products. If a product recently injured you or someone you love, you may be contemplating your legal options. Understanding the different types of warranties and whether you may have a claim under one is a crucial step in the right direction. Contact us today to speak with a knowledgeable Denver product liability lawyer!

types of warranties

What Is a Warranty in Product Liability?

A warranty in product liability is either an express or implied warranty that the product or goods purchased are safe to be used as intended by the consumer. An express warranty is an explicit, typically written promise to the buyer from the seller as part of the reason for purchase. 

The law also imposes certain implied warranties even if the manufacturer or seller makes no express guarantee. 

Generally, there are three warranty types relating to product liability claims: express warranties, implied warranty of fitness for particular purpose, and implied warranty of merchantability. These are specific legal terms that are unfamiliar to most. Don’t worry; that is normal. However, if you are considering filing a breach of warranty lawsuit, it is helpful to understand the different warranties and how they might apply to your situation

Breach of Warranty Claim

Under a breach of warranty claim, a plaintiff must show that there was a violation of the product’s warranty. In other words, a manufacturer failed to guarantee the customer’s safety and quality of its product. A lawsuit based on a breach of warranty is considered a breach of contract lawsuit. Warranties can be express or implied. 

With implied warranties, the law assumes they apply even if they are not expressly stated or written. If a product fails to meet the standards of the warranty, the buyer may have the right to return the product and receive a refund or sometimes receive monetary damages. 

Some warranties have an expiration date and do not last forever. If the warranty no longer covers the defect, the plaintiff must prove that the item is still unfit for its intended purpose.

The Three Different Types of Warranties

Generally, there are three warranty types relating to product liability claims: express warranties, implied warranty of fitness for particular purpose, and implied warranty of merchantability. These are specific legal terms that are unfamiliar to most. Don’t worry; that is normal. However, if you are considering filing a breach of warranty lawsuit, it is helpful to understand the different warranties and how they might apply to your situation. Determining which one applies in your situation depends on the facts and circumstances surrounding your injury and the product involved. Let’s take a closer look at all three.

Express Warranties

An express warranty is typically the most straightforward and least challenging to prove. Express warranties can be verbal or written, although most are written and can be found in the contract for sale. It’s a promise or guarantee that the product will meet a certain level of quality,  reliability, and safety.

In other words, an express warranty is a promise that the product will perform in a certain way or do a specific task. A written warranty is much easier to prove than a verbal one because you can usually submit a copy of the written contract to help prove your claim. An easy example is when purchasing a used car. If the sales contract states you are purchasing a car that has never been in an accident, and yet you discover that express assurance that the car was never part of an accident is false, you may have a breach of warranty claim. It will be easy to prove in this instance because you can point to the specific warranty terms and conditions in the contract stating you will receive free oil changes. 

However, let’s use the same example but with a verbal warranty. If the contract does not contain the “no prior accident” clause in writing, but the seller simply mentioned it to you, you may have an uphill battle proving your claim under their promise.  

Implied Warranty of Fitness for a Particular Purpose

The implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose applies when the buyer relies upon the seller to select the goods to fit a specific purpose. Suppose the seller is aware the buyer is purchasing the product to use in a particular manner, and the buyer is relying on the seller’s expertise, knowledge, and advice for choosing the proper product. In that case, this creates an implied warranty of fitness. In these scenarios, the buyer trusts the seller to make the right choice for them. 

For example, if a person goes into a hardware store and tells the salesperson they need nails to hang a heavy picture frame on the wall, and the salesperson recommends a particular box of nails, there is an implied warranty that those nails are fit for securing a heavy picture frame to the wall. If the picture frame immediately falls off the wall, the seller might be liable for breach of warranty and have to pay for damages to the frame, wall, etc.

Implied Warranty of Merchantability

An implied warranty of merchantability is a merchant’s fundamental promise that the goods sold will do what they are intended to. In other words, when a product is for sale, there is an implied promise to the consumer that it is appropriate and suited for its intended purposes.

For example, if a hairdryer does not create enough airflow or heat to dry the average hair, it breaches the implied warranty of merchantability.

Generally, to be “merchantable,” the product must:

  • Conform to standards of the trade,
  • Be fit for the purpose the goods are ordinarily used for,
  • Be uniform in quality,
  • Be packaged and labeled according to the contract for sale, and
  • Meet the specifications on the package label.

The warranty of merchantability is intended to guarantee that a product has no manufacturing defects, is appropriately labeled, and has no inherent design defects. 

Are There Implied Warranty Laws in Colorado?

Yes, express and implied warranty laws exist in every state, including Colorado, and all states have adopted the Uniform Commercial Code. However, each state may have varying rules addressing product liability and breach of warranty claims.

What Else Should You Know? 

Generally, manufacturers must follow specific rules and guidelines when they create warranties. They must also follow state law when declining to make certain guarantees. For instance, in some states, a seller of used goods may be exempt from certain warranties if the goods are labeled “sold as is.” 

Under certain circumstances, manufacturers and merchants may need precise language about specific products. 

Gifts and Borrowed Items

Often, the purchaser is different from the product user. Perhaps you were gifted a product or borrowed something from a friend or family member. If that product injures you, you can sometimes recover damages. The purchaser and the injured consumer do not have to be identical. 

Colorado Breach of Warranty and Product Liability Lawyers

Gerash Steiner Blanton P.C. offers top-notch legal representation to victims injured in product liability accidents. One of our partners, Eric L. Steiner, is not just an attorney but also a licensed M.D. The injuries associated with product liability claims are often extensive. You will immediately see the difference in involving a medical doctor in your case. Contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your rights and options.

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