Professional liability and product liability

Professional liability is a special form of liability that is of particular relevance to a large number of professionals such as civil-law notaries, accountants, attorneys-at-law, physicians, architects, real estate agents, sole traders, (insurance) brokers and (other) consultants. It is a special form of liability because different, specific rules and standards apply for all these different professional groups. These rules and standards not only apply to the quality of service provided but for example also to behaviour in respect of clients and third parties. Many of these groups of professionals are also subject to specific disciplinary laws, each with their own characteristics.

At some point in their professional practice, almost all professionals will be involved with professional errors; deliberate or accidental and more or less serious. The attorneys in the Damage, Liability & Disputes practice group at BANNING have considerable experience in evaluating errors of this kind, and assessing them according to the standards relevant for the profession in question. If necessary, we can also counsel you in respect of the (disciplinary) courts. We are available to victims of professional errors as well as professional practitioners and their professional liability insurers.

Manufacturers and importers of products run an entirely different set of risks. As soon as a product is placed on the market, there is a risk that it will cause damage. If the product was already faulty upon leaving the factory, the manufacturer can be held liable for any personal injury or material damage caused by the faulty product. This is known as product liability. All that is needed for product liability to apply is that the product itself was faulty. This is the case for example if the product does not offer the degree of safety that may be expected. There is no requirement that the manufacturer was in any way negligible in the occurrence of the fault.

The category producer is not only restricted to the manufacturer of a (finished) product. An importer or middleman can (in certain cases) be earmarked as producer and therefore liable for product liability claims. In certain situations, the producer is required to recall the faulty products. In that case, a whole series of actions must be undertaken, without delay, including:

  • warning the public;
  • identifying the parties who have purchased the product;
  • investigating and examining the product;
  • destroying, repairing or replacing the recalled products.

We have plenty of experience in assisting businesses faced with product liability issues. We can advise businesses on the actions to be taken with a view to limiting damage (to their reputation) as far as possible.