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Australian product liability claims for incidents overseas

Australian manufactured products, such as trucks and planes, are regularly exported overseas. Sometimes these products may have faults or defects and it’s not always clear whether a product liability claim can be commenced in Australia for events occurring overseas.

However, if the goods which were made or purchased in Australia are faulty or defective, a claim can be brought under Australian Consumer Law for the defects which have resulted in loss and damage, even if the actual event occurred outside of Australia.

For instance, if it's found that the recent GippsAero GA8 Airvan crash in North Sweden was due to defective design or a manufacturing failure, recourse may be available against the manufacturer under Australian Consumer Law.

Product liability law in Australia

When purchasing Australian products, consumers have a right to expect that the products they purchase are not faulty or dangerous. Manufacturers are liable to consumers for defective products and if a product is found to be faulty and consumers are injured as a result of the product’s defect, then a claim can be made according to the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).

The liability provisions of the ACL generally apply to a manufacturer that supplies consumer goods in trade or commerce, such as a company that:

  • makes or assembles the goods;

  • uses its own brand name in relation to the goods;

  • imports the goods;

  • holds itself publicly to be the manufacturer of the goods; or

  • allows another person to promote the goods as having been manufactured by the company.

In order to receive compensation in a claim under ACL, a person making a claim must establish that the products are defective or not of an acceptable quality.

Compensation under the ACL

Under the ACL, a consumer can seek compensation from a manufacturer for loss or damage sustained by a defective product. This can include:

  • compensation for pain and suffering;

  • loss of income relating to these injuries;

  • medical treatment and rehabilitation costs; and

  • domestic care.

Generally, product liability claims under the ACL must be commenced within three years. These claims can be quite complex, so, it’s important that you seek legal advice as soon as possible if you or a loved one are injured by a defective Australian product, even if the incident occurs overseas.

Written by Shine Lawyers. Last modified: August 19, 2019.

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