What are my recovery rights in a product liability claim with no personal injuries?

Product liability claims can only be for property damage, however the recovery tends to be narrower and more strictly defined than when there is a personal injury. It is possible to include the loss of the defective product itself, i.e. the cost of the item, but this alone is not enough to sustain a strict product liability cause of action. In the case where a defective product damages other property, the damage to that property would be recoverable.

For example, in a case involving homeowners suing a developer for installing defective stucco, the homeowners had to show that their property suffered physical harm beyond the defective stucco and this was met by showing that the defective product had caused water seepage into the property. These same homeowners, however, could not recover damages from the developer on a strict product liability cause of action for loss of value in their homes. Generally, the courts do not recognize such “economic interference” damages for strict product liability.


6 Witkin, Summary 10th (2005) Torts, § 1515, p. 972

50A Cal. Jur. 3d Products Liability § 85