Products liability refers to the liability of any or all parties along the chain of manufacture of any product for damage caused by that product. This includes the manufacturer of component parts (at the top of the chain), an assembling manufacturer, the wholesaler, and the retail store owner (at the bottom of the chain).
Products containing inherent defects that cause harm to a consumer (or someone to whom the product was loaned, given, etc.) of the product would be the subjects of products liability suits.
While products are generally thought of as tangible personal property, products liability has stretched that definition to include intangibles (i.e. gas), naturals (i.e. pets), real estate (i.e. house), and writings (i.e. navigational charts). Products liability is derived mainly from torts law.
Products liability claims can be based on negligence, strict liability, or breach of warranty of fitness. This will typically depend on the jurisdiction within which the claim is based, due to the fact that there is no federal products liability law.
This lack of uniformity has resulted in the United States Department of Commerce publishing the Model Uniform Products Liability Act (MUPLA), which has tried to encourage uniform procedures for the products liability tort.