Each year in the U.S. over 30 million Americans are injured as a result of a defective consumer product. In some cases, these incidents are incredibly severe, resulting in debilitating injuries or even death. In the event that you are hurt through use of a defective product, you may be eligible for compensation, but in order to pursue this type of personal injury case it’s important to understand the legal theories that are typically used to prove liability. Over the course of this article we’ll examine the differences in these theories and what impact this could have on your case.
While a plaintiff can utilize whichever legal theories are applicable to the case in question, negligence and strict liability cannot be applied at the same time. Because strict liability was intended to serve as a replacement for negligence in defective product cases, you’ll have to choose one or the other to successfully prove your claim. The most important aspect of strict liability is that the conduct of the manufacturer or retailer who sold the defective product is not taken into account. Even if they were attempting to be diligent, and had no intention of distributing a questionable product, they are still liable under this legal theory. To prove strict liability, the plaintiff needs to demonstrate that the product lacked adequate warning and was sold in a hazardous condition. They also need to prove that the product’s defectiveness was the direct cause of the afflicted injuries.
Proving negligence is somewhat more difficult than proving strict liability. While strict liability doesn’t require the plaintiff to prove misconduct from the defendant, negligence does. When applying this legal theory to a personal injury case the injured party must be able to demonstrate that the manufacturer in question is guilty of misconduct. This means proving that the injury was a direct result of a breach in reasonable care and duty on the part of the defendant.
Another important factor in establishing a claim is the ability to prove that the defective product in question was utilized as intended by the manufacturer. If the plaintiff was using a product in an irresponsible manner that no reasonable person would, this could be grounds to dismiss the case altogether, even if the product itself was indeed defective. This is one of the most important aspects to consider when filing your suit, which is why it’s incredibly important to consult with an experienced legal professional to evaluate the intricacies of your unique circumstances.