Harmful Products

Have you been harmed by a defective product?

  • a medical device that has gone wrong?
  • an unexpected side effect from your medication?
  • a beauty product that has caused an unexpected reaction or purchased a faulty product which caused you or your family harm?

In the eyes of the law if the product did not produce the level of safety you would have expected then it may be considered defective and you may be able to be compensated for the injuries or losses that follow.

What you need to prove

In order for your harmful product compensation claim to be successful you, as the claimant, will need to establish that the product was defective and that this caused you an injury that you would not have otherwise have suffered.

In other words, you will need to prove that the manufacturer or supplier was liable for the defect in the product and that this caused you injury. We can help you achieve this outcome.

Consumer Protection Act

The Consumer Protection Act 1987 (CPA) applies to any products supplied by manufacturers after the 1 March 1988 and it provides that where any damage is caused “wholly or partly by a defect in the product” the manufacturer and/or supplier will be liable for the damage caused which includes personal injury.  The Act imposes a strict liability on the manufacturer/supplier.

Under the CPA it must be proved that the product was defective; that is “the safety of the product was not such as persons generally are entitled to expect”.

Once we have proved that the product was defective we will need to prove that the defect in the product caused the damage.  This can only be proved on the basis of medical evidence.

Common Law Negligence

Under the common law of negligence it must be established that there was a defect with the product and that there was a duty on the manufacturer to take reasonable care to ensure that it would not cause damage and there has been a breach of that duty by the manufacturer because it was reasonably foreseeable at the time that the product was supplied that injury was likely to occur.

Unlike a claim under the Consumer Protection Act where the onus is on the defendant to show that the defect could not have been identified at the time of supply, under the common law of negligence, the onus is on the claimant to prove that it was reasonably foreseeable to the defendant at the time of supply that the product was defective and would cause injury.  This claim is more difficult but may be necessary if the product complained if is more than ten years old.

The Limitation Act provides that the claim must be brought within three years of the date of knowledge that the product was defective and had caused a significant injury.

Our harmful products experience

Our team has many years experience of successfully winning harmful product claims.

Our expert advice has helped us to be ranked first as a representative of claimants in such cases by Chambers and Partners, the independent guide to Law firms.

Compensation has been recovered for many victims of harmful products such as ordinary household products as well as medical and pharmaceutical devices.

Most recently the firm:

  • negotiated a settlement protocol for patients who alleged visual problems from their cataract remedial intraocular lenses;
  • represents the victims of the South Wales E-Coli outbreak;
  • obtained compensation for one individual who complained of a defective hip prosthesis; and
  • obtained compensation for one individual who suffered injury from a piece of aircraft furniture in a First Class cabin.

Our personal injury lawyers

  • assist some of the 700,000 or so people who are injured each year and wish to seek compensation for their losses – and we can assist those who have been injured and who could claim but feel unable to;
  • investigate each potential claim thoroughly and offer early and ongoing assessments as to the prospects of success in your claim and the likely level of compensation and other remedies you may be entitled to;
  • help clients who have suffered relatively minor injuries and those who have had the misfortune to suffer catastrophic and life-changing injuries;
  • work to the highest service standards so that we conclude your case as quickly as possible with the right remedy; and
  • work on conditional fee agreements (no win, no fee) so that if we don’t win your case there is no bill to pay.

Many of our solicitors have national reputations as leaders in their fields. We count amongst us Deputy District Judges, Recorders, Queens Counsel, Solicitors Regulation Authority specialist panel members, Fellows of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL), members of Action for the Victims of Medical Accidents, published authors of legal texts, frequent contributors of legal journal articles and some of the country’s most renowned trainers of other lawyers on all aspects of personal injury law.

Harmful product group action case studies

Hugh James negotiated a settlement protocol which avoided litigation, on behalf of the victims of a defective intraocular replacement lens.

The protocol involved check-ups and remedial treatment for the victims, payment of their expenses and compensation for the distress and inconvenience caused, with the result that expensive and lengthy litigation was avoided whilst providing a real remedy over and above the payment of compensation.
Cataract Lenses

“Thousands of patients having hip or knee replacements on the NHS may find that their new joints do not last more than a few years.”

The Times

A study of joint replacements in England has found that the latest surgical techniques of hip resurfacing and partial knee replacement have a lower success rate than the older established methods where the entire joint is replaced.

The researchers on behalf of The Royal College of Surgeons found that the newer surgical joints could be twice as likely to fail than standard ones. Where for example in a total hip replacement the failure rate is said to be 1 in 111 patients, in the more modern surgery where one fits a cap over the head of the thigh bone connecting to a socket rather than a full hip replacement, the failure rate accelerates to 1 in 38 cases.
‘Quick-fit’ knees and hips that can wear out in three years


Hugh James is considered a market leader nationally for product liability work relating to medical devices and pharmaceutical products. In an illustration of its national strength, it has been appointed the lead firm in the PIP breast implant group litigation order, which involves over 1000 claimants. The practice is also representing more than 200 individuals from South Wales in claims for compensation arising from the failure of defective hip implants manufactured by DePuy. Group head Mark Harvey is highly recommended.
Legal 500

“They provide an excellent service to clients. They really can deal with the medical complexities which arise and, importantly, have access to first-class experts.”
Chambers and Partners

Hugh James is identified as being particularly adept in leading group litigation. The team remains at the forefront of some of the most high-profile cases in this sector. “They’ve got an imaginative approach, very good connections in the legal world across Europe and good access to experts.”

They acted as the lead firm representing 800 claimants in the highly publicised PIP breast implant group litigation. Mark Harvey is in charge of the steering committee, leading 200 other firms and their 2,500 clients.

Mark Harvey is a highly renowned claimant-side solicitor. Sources report that he is “very tenacious, very good with experts. He won’t give up without a fight – he’ll go to the bitter end.” Another source notes: “Nobody knows product liability more than him.”
Chambers UK

Cardiff firm Hugh James joins the top tier in recognition of its proven capability in headline group actions. It is the lead firm in the PIP claims, acting for over 800 claimants and leading 200 law firms, and is representing several hundred claimants in the DePuy litigation. Mark Harvey is the court-appointed lead solicitor in the PIP claims, and heads a team highlighted for its ‘many outstanding qualities’
Legal 500

This is one of the UK’s leading product liability claimant firms, specialising in medical devices and pharmaceuticals. Peers recognise that its experience in handling complex high-value group claims makes it a “serious player in the field.” Mark Harvey heads the firm’s claimant division. Peers say he is “a highly intelligent and committed lawyer with a wholly realistic view of the claims that are being brought forward.”
Chambers UK

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