Liability for a defective product
The producer who puts a product into circulation is liable for damage caused by a defect of this product regardless of the fault. This liability of the producer may not be limited or excluded by a contract.
A product refers to all movables as well as electricity and other types of energy sources, with the exception of the immovable, however with independent parts incorporated into another movable or into an immovable.
When is a product considered defective?
The product is defective when it does not provide safety which is reasonably expected from such product, which is considered by taking all circumstances into account (the presentation of the product, the expected use of the product and the time when the product was put into circulation).
However, a product will not be considered defective for the sole reason that a better product is subsequently put into circulation.
Who is a producer?
The producer is:
- The manufacturer of a finished product;
- The producer of any raw material;
- The manufacturer of an independent part or a component part fitted in the finished product;
- Any person who, by putting his/her name, trade mark or other distinguishing feature on the product, presents himself/herself as its producer;
- Any person who imports a product for sale, leasing or any other form of putting a product into circulation.
If it is not possible to establish the producer, the producer is considered any person putting the product into circulation, unless this person informs the injured party, within a reasonable time, of the person who supplied him/her with the product.
Liability of the producer
Regardless of any fault on his/her part, the producer is liable for the following damage caused by defect in the product in accordance with the rules of liability for damages:
Cases when the producer is not liable and freed from liability
- Damage caused by death or by personal injuries;
- Damage to, or destruction of, any item of property other than the defective product itself, provided that the item of property was intended for private use or consumption, and was used by the injured party mainly for the mentioned purpose. The mentioned liability is limited by the amount for the recovery of damages, and therefore the injured party is entitled only for the portion of damage exceeding the Croatian kuna (HRK) equivalent of EUR 500.
The producer is not liable for the damage of the already defective product, for fixing non-physical damage, and the injured party may be entitled to fixing of these damages in accordance with applicable rules of liability for damages.
The producer will be (partly) free of liability, provided that he/she proves that:
- He/she did not put the product into circulation;
- It is probable that the damage which caused the defect did not exist at the time when the product was put into circulation by the producer;
- The product was neither manufactured by the producer for sale, leasing or any other form of distribution for economic purpose;
- The product was neither manufactured nor put in circulation by the producer in the course of his/her business;
- The defect is due to compliance of the product with mandatory regulations which were in force at the time when the product was put in circulation;
- The state of scientific and technical knowledge at the time when the product was put into circulation by the producer was not such as to enable the existence of the defect to be discovered;
- The damage is caused solely by the act of the injured party or a person for whom he/she is responsible for, i.e. by the act of a third party which could not be anticipated and consequences of which could not be avoided or removed by the producer (if the damage is partly caused by a third party, he/she and the producer will jointly and severally be liable)
- The damage was partly caused by the injured party or a person for whom he/she is responsible for (in this case, the producer will be partly responsible).
The producer of a raw material or a component of the product will be freed of liability if he/she proves that the defect is attributable to the design of the main product or to the instructions given by the manufacturer of the main product.
What does the injured party have to prove?
In order to realize his/her right to the fixing of the damage, the injured party has to prove the defect, the caused damage and the causal relationship between the defect and the damage.
Liability limitation period
A limitation period of three years applies to proceedings for the recovery of damages caused by a defective product and it begins from the day on which the injured party became aware, or should reasonably have become aware, of the damage, the defect and the identity of the producer. This right is extinguished upon the expiry of a period of 10 years from the date on which the product was put into circulation.
Competent authority and regulations
Ministry of Justice and Administration
Ulica grada Vukovara 49
+385 1 3714 000
Zakon o obveznim odnosima (NN 35/05
- Zakon o rokovima ispunjenja novčanih obveza, 78/15
Updated: 30. studenoga 2020.