Conventional legal wisdom used to pretty much say that if you were injured by a defective product that came from a Chinese manufacturer, you were going to have an uphill battle winning a lawsuit and actually collecting the judgment on your claim.
Even though retailers based in the United States often sold the products, many of them were able to skate by the strict liability laws that sought to hold them liable by asserting, as a defense, that they weren’t in the business of regularly selling that sort of product. Strict liability laws against retailers don’t always apply when the retailer isn’t in the business of exclusively selling a specific type of product but carries a hodgepodge assortment of goods for sale.
However, a lawsuit over a defective product doesn’t have to rely on strict liability alone and we live in an age where electronic communications often provide attorneys with a treasure-trove of evidence. In many cases, discovery actions can unearth documentation like emails and other corporate documents that indicate that a retailer knew that the product they were selling was defective or dangerous. Private communications with distributors may show that the retailer was aware of defects, especially if the retailer suddenly stopped carrying the item. Records of customer complaints can also help prove your case.
In addition, more foreign companies have established holdings in the United States than ever before. That means that even if the item was manufactured in China by a Chinese company, you may be able to recover your judgment if the company has any significant holdings inside the United States.
Product liability claims can be extremely complex and it can often be difficult to identify everyone who should be named as defendants to a suit. However, don’t make the assumption that your claim is hopeless based solely on the fact that the manufacturer is a Chinese-based company. An attorney with experience in defective product litigation will know where to start the process.