Important Rules Regarding Strict Liability and Product Defects

by MalmanLaw on October 29, 2013

(US PI Law) Suing a company over a defective product that causes you to become injured can be a difficult process, but with the help of an attorney and a bit of knowledge about liability, you can have an easier time doing so.

We all laugh from time to time at the seemingly absurd warning labels on certain products. Don’t use a hair dryer in the bathtub? Who would? But the truth is, those labels are there for a reason, and that reason is usually that someone tried to do that, got hurt, and sued because they were not told they shouldn’t.

Still, if you’re planning on filing a claim against a company for a product that caused you to become injured, there are a few things you need to be aware of before doing so, and you have to be able to prove that the company should be held liable. Of course, hiring an attorney is helpful with these cases, but you should still figure out if you can prove that the manufacturer is liable for your injury. There are a few things you’ll need to be able to prove.

1) That the product had a dangerous defect that injured you.

Proving that a product was defective, either through its design, its manufacturing, or by something that happened to it in the shipping process, can be somewhat difficult. Proving this will depend on what sort of defect you are trying to claim. If something was broken during its manufacturing process and an electrical short injured you, that can be easy to prove. Likewise, if, in the instance of automotive flaws, the brakes are designed in such a way that they fail, it is easy to prove a defective design.

However, if you are trying to sue a manufacturer that produces scissors for a cut you sustained when you slipped and the blade hit your hand, you’re not going to be able to prove a defect—scissors are meant to cut, and the manufacturer will just say that you were using their product incorrectly.

2) That the defect is what caused the injury, even when the product was being used as it was intended.

You will also need to prove that the defect is what caused your injury, and not some outside source. For example, if you get into a car accident due to faulty brakes, you’ll need to prove that it was the brakes that were faulty and not that you had been following another driver too closely. This is the reason you will want to hire a good personal injury lawyer if you’ve been hurt from a defective product. They will be able to walk you through the steps you need to take and show you what you need to do in order to obtain proof. Things like auto inspections in this case will help your case, for example.

3) That the manufacturer was negligent in selling a product that was defective.

Finally, you will need to prove that the manufacturer was negligent. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they knew about the defect and sold it anyways—it could mean that they did not provide an adequate warning about the dangers of using their product and thus you had no way of knowing you’d be injured.

Think of cases like McDonalds’ hot coffee warnings being added to their cups—those warnings had to be added because a woman burned herself so severely after accidentally spilling the coffee on herself that she had to go to the hospital. The company put warning labels on the cups to help ensure that the accident did not happen again. That is why so many products have seemingly absurd warning labels—either an accident has already happened, or they are putting the notice on the product as a precaution.

At Malman Law Chicago, if you can't come to us, we'll go to you. We are a law firm dedicated to protecting the rights of injury victims, and we will do whatever it takes to help you receive your financial recovery as quickly as possible—whether your case is big or small. We represent personal injury clients who have been injured in all areas related to personal injury and workers' compensation.

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