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Sweden

Litigation        

Swedish product liability claims are usually satisfied by insurance. General insurance packages normally also cover product liability, for which the producer pays relatively low premiums.

For the insurance company to pay compensation on a claim, the damage caused must be directly attributable to the business insured by the producer. This is primarily decided by the insurance company itself. The insurance company will negotiate with the claimant and pay compensation in accordance with the applicable laws on damages. Swedish courts only become involved if the claimant rejects the offer of compensation, in which case the insurance company will pay the producer’s legal costs.

In line with the increasingly global nature of business, insurance packages generally cover damages that occur anywhere in the world except the US and Canada. Insurance can be obtained for the US and Canada, but premiums are much higher.

Product liability claims are founded on contract and tort. The most important piece of legislation is the Product Liability Act, which is based on EC Directive 85/374/EC. Injuries caused by the use of drugs or malpractice are regulated separately in the Patient Injury Act.

Sweden is regarded as producer and manufacturer friendly. Punitive damages are not available and courts tend to award comparatively small amounts. 

Regulation         

There are no specific rules in relation to product liability under Swedish criminal law. However, criminal sanctions might arise under the Swedish Penal Code. The Swedish Product Safety Act also contains particular regulations concerning the safety of marketed products. Companies which do not follow the regulations may be subject to civil sanctions or decisions in line with the regulations.

In order to prevent goods from causing personal injury, Sweden has adopted the Product Safety Act, under which the Swedish Consumer Agency takes on the role of supervising authority. Other supervising authorities also exist, such as the Medical Products Agency, which supervises pharmaceutical products. A manufacturer or a seller providing goods and services must always provide the customer with all necessary information regarding the safety of a product.

If goods or services are found to be hazardous, manufacturers/sellers can face a selling prohibition and/or an export prohibition. Hazardous goods or services can also be recalled from the market. Companies may also be subject to a sanction fee, which can vary from SEK 5,000 to SEK 5 million, but will not exceed 10 percent of the company’s annual turnover.

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Note past results are not guarantees of future results. Each matter is individual and will be decided on its own facts.