• Product Liability Basics and Hiring a Product Liability Law Firm

    Products Liability

    Products liability law is the body of legal rules that governs claims against the manufacturers and sellers of defective goods. Like other types of tort law, products liability is meant to provide an incentive to design safer products and reduce the risk of injuries. There are three major subsets of products liability. First is liability for manufacturing defects. These rules cover injury arising from products that deviate from their intended design. Second is liability for defective design. These rules cover injury arising from products that could have been designed as to avoid the suffered injury. Third is liability for failure to warn. These rules cover injuries arising from products that come without reasonable instructions or warnings that would have mitigated foreseeable harms. If a merchant sells defective goods they are held strictly liable along with all the other members in the chain of commerce that brought the product to market.

    An actor is liable for selling goods with manufacturing defects that result in harm to a consumer. A product has a manufacturing defect when it deviates from its intended design, even though all possible care was exercised in designing and marketing the product. In other words, a manufacturing defect is when a product fails to meet the specifications of its design. Liability for such defects arises when the defect is the cause of a person’s injury. For instance, a manufacturing defect would be a microwave’s wiring being incorrectly soldiered. The manufacturer would be liable if the defective wiring actually and directly caused a house fire. The manufacturer would not be liable for a manufacturing defect if the microwave started a fire because of careless use. A manufacturing defect can be inferred if the harm is of a type that would not occur in the absence of defect.

    A manufacturer is also liable for harms caused by products that could have been designed as to avoid those harms. Manufacturers have a duty to design products in such a way as to avoid or guard against foreseeable and unreasonable risks of harm. This includes guarding against misuse which might be reasonably anticipated. Liability is only imposed if the foreseeable harms posed by the product could have been reduced or avoided by the adoption of a reasonable alternative design, and that the omission of such a design rendered the product not reasonably safe. The existence of a reasonable alternative design is determined by balancing the burden or costs of the safer design against the probability and gravity of the harm. As with in all instances of product liability, the design flaw must be the actual and direct cause of the injury.

    Sellers of goods are also liable if they fail to warn consumers of possibly dangerous uses of their products. The duty to warn includes only those harmful features or uses of their products that a reasonably prudent manufacturer would or should have known and warned about. A reasonably prudent manufacturer is held to a standard of knowing all of the prevailing best scientific or medical knowledge available at the time of manufacture and distribution. It should be noted that in failure to warn cases manufacturers sometimes have a strong defense in comparative negligence. Consumers generally will not recover for that portion of the harm caused by their own negligence.
    Merchants are strictly liable for harms arising from the goods they sell. Strict liability is a tort theory that assigns liability without negligence. Ordinarily, an actor must be culpable of wrongdoing in order to be found liable for their conduct. Under strict product liability if a merchant’s goods are the actual and direct cause of harm then the manufacturer is liable– even in the absence of negligence (i.e., they manufactured and designed their product with all due care).

    If a person is injured through the product liability which a responsible party or manufacturer causes, they may hire the help of a competent product liability lawyer or their law firm.

    Furthermore, under products liability the entire chain of commerce can be held liable for the harm. In most negligence actions a plaintiff must find a specific negligent actor. Under products liability the whole chain of commerce is presumed liable. This means a plaintiff may name the retailer, wholesaler, assembler, and component manufacturers as defendants. If the plaintiff is victorious in their suit they may enforce the judgment against any or all of the defendants until their damage award is satisfied in full. Defendants who have paid damages but feel disproportionately liable may seek their own legal actions for contribution from the other defendants.
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