Are Defective Product Claims Subject to Strict Liability Standards?

When a company releases a product into the market, the item is expected to be safe for consumers to use. Unfortunately, design or manufacturing defects or inadequate warnings about potential hazards associated with using the product can cause injury to consumers. Companies can be held strictly liable for a defective product. If you pursue a claim, you do not have to prove that the company was negligent. Instead, you must show that you used a product that was flawed or did not contain sufficient warnings and caused you harm.

Although you do not have to prove negligence, product liability cases are far from easy or straightforward. You must still provide evidence to support your claims. You must also counter any defenses the company’s legal representatives might raise. That is why it is important to have a personal injury lawyer assist with your matter.

To schedule a consultation with a member of our Los Angeles team, call Lessem, Newstat & Tooson, LLP at (800) 462-7160 or submit an online contact form today.

When Can a Product Liability Case Arise?

You might have a product liability case if you used an item as intended (or misused it in a way the manufacturer could have foreseen) and were injured as a result. The injury must have been sustained because of failure on the manufacturer’s part.

Depending on the situation, you may base your claim on one of the following:

  • Manufacturing defect. A manufacturing defect occurs when a product, although designed well, contains flaws because of an error during its construction.
  • Design defect. A product could be said to have a defective design if the manufacturer did not consider all foreseeable risks when generating the idea for the item or did not explore reasonable alternative design options to prevent harm to consumers.
  • Inadequate warnings. Before releasing a product, manufacturers must consider how consumers might reasonably use or misuse the item. Then they must determine the potential safety hazards associated with the intended use or misuse. The manufacturer must include a warning about the risks and instructions on how to properly use the product to keep consumers from being harmed.

What Is Strict Liability?

Strict liability is a standard in defective products cases allowing the inured party to pursue compensation by proving that an error by the manufacturer caused their injury. This standard is in contrast to the negligence theory most often used in personal injury cases.

Under the negligence doctrine, the injured party must prove that:

  • The at-fault party owed a duty of care,
  • The at-fault party breached their duty,
  • The breach of the duty of care was the proximate cause of an accident,
  • The accident caused the injured party to suffer damages.

With strict liability, you don’t have to prove that the manufacturer acted below the expected standard.

Instead, you must show that:

  • The company you’re bringing the claim against designed or manufactured the product,
  • The product contained a design or manufacturing flaw when it left the company’s possession or the company did not provide adequate warnings about safety risks,
  • You used the product as intended (or in a reasonably foreseeable way),
  • You were harmed after using the product, and
  • The design or manufacturing defect or the lack of sufficient warnings was a substantial factor in causing your injury.

Why Do You Need a Personal Injury Lawyer in a Strict Liability Case?

When bringing a product liability claim, you may not need to prove negligence, but you must still prove other elements. For instance, you must show that a flaw existed in the product when it was in the company’s possession. You must present evidence and tell a compelling story to support your claims.

These tasks require:

  • A great deal of footwork,
  • An understanding of how to build arguments, and
  • The ability to consult with experts who can provide professional opinions about your accident and injuries.

As part of your case development, you must also be able to anticipate any counterarguments the manufacturer’s lawyers might raise. For example, the company could claim that your negligence contributed to your accident and injuries, thereby making you partially responsible and reducing your award amount. They might also state that the product was not the cause of your injury or that the item was not defective when distributed.

Having a personal injury help you would be beneficial because they can take care of the details of your case. They can interview witnesses, request documents related to the design and construction of the product, and craft a compelling legal strategy.

If you need legal representation for your Los Angeles case, contact Lessem, Newstat & Tooson, LLP at (800) 462-7160.