Defective Products and Strict Liability

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If you got injured due to a defective product, the law has established laws that ensure you get justice. If you feel like you were a victim of such a case, remember that a manufacturer, distributor, and/or retailer can all get sued. Simply seek the services of a personal injury law firm and lay down the facts; they will help you build up a valid case. 

In personal injury law, the fault concept in strict liability states that manufacturers, distributors, or sellers of defective products may be liable to any victim of injury from the product. The concept applies regardless of whether the defendant addressed every possible means to ensure the product defect didn’t happen. 

When finding the fault for an injury, the defendant’s conduct will not matter under strict liability. While the legal concept may appear simple in theory, the strict liability rule may become complicated, especially when it comes to its exceptions. The following is a guide to help you grasp the concept deeper and understand your chance at a valid case.

The Concept of Strict Liability

For a defendant to be considered liable in any personal injury case, for instance, in a slip and fall accident, the defendant must have failed to do, or done, such that, in the circumstance, it amounts to negligence. A defendant’s conduct combined with the incident at hand is an essential aspect of most personal injury cases. 

On the other hand, strict liability does away with any need for analysis to determine whether the defendant’s conduct fell below or met a particular standard. Why? Were it necessary for a consumer to show the specific unreasonable or unsafe behavior that took place at a point within the timeline of designing, manufacturing, and distribution, then such types of cases would be almost impossible to win. California courts, therefore, established strict liability laws for product defect cases.

Strict Liability Does Not Make It an Automatic Liability

Simply because a plaintiff is not required to prove as much in a product liability case, doesn’t imply that the defendant’s liability is automatic. There are several things a plaintiff has to prove in a case of this nature:

  • The product was unreasonably dangerous or unsafe when it was sold, manufactured, or even when designed.
  • The seller intended and expected that the product reached the consumer without any changes to the product.
  • The plaintiff must have gotten injured by the particular defective product.
  • Finally, those injuries caused losses, financial or otherwise.

An established and seasoned personal injury attorney will quickly set up the case and prove the four requirements that validate your claim.

Nevertheless, there are several reasons why a strict liability case may fail if the defendant defends themselves:

  • Showing that the plaintiff used their product in a manner they knew, or should have known may lead to injury or used it despite knowing it had a defect (assuming the risk)
  • Showing that the plaintiff’s careless actions were the sole reason or contributed to the injury; this includes using the product in a manner or for a use it wasn’t intended for.
  • Showing that an event or other person interacted with the product to the extent that the product isn’t the real cause of injury in the case.

Types of Product Defects

There are three primary ways that products can be termed defective products

  • Inadequate warnings
  • Design defects
  • Manufacturing defects

Manufacturing defects are the kinds of defects that are limited to the specific product that the plaintiff purchased. Such a defect means that not all the manufacturers’ products are defective, but something must have gone wrong in making the particular product that the plaintiff purchased (or a batch of product).

Design defects are inherently in the design of the whole product line; such defects make every single product sold unreasonably unsafe for their intended use. Finally, the strict liability clause may fall on a defendant that fails to adequately warn their consumers of the “less-than-obvious” risks posed by the product’s use.

Sue for Product Liability

It’s important to note that strict liability cases do not take the standard behavior of the involved parties in selling the product into account, i.e., distributors, and retailers; this means that if you are unsure of who’s at fault, you may sue all. 

The policy states that a consumer should not lack a legal remedy simply because they cannot prove which player in the distribution chain was liable for the defect. Therefore, feel motivated to take up a claim for defective products that injured you or your loved one.