If you’re thinking about filing a product liability lawsuit, you’ve probably been wondering, “What do I need to prove?” Depending on your specific situation, you may not be able to prove that you used the product as intended. A hair straightener, for example, isn’t designed to damage doll hair!
Product liability is a legal theory
Product liability is a legal theory that holds companies liable for injuries or damages caused by their products. You must prove that the product caused the injury or was defective in order to file a claim. There are two main standards that courts apply to determining product defects. The first is the consumer expectation standard. It applies to products that fail warn consumers about dangerous conditions. The second standard is known as the risk-utility standard, and is applicable only if the product was not safe for ordinary use.
While the theory of product liability has been around for a long time, it is only recently that it has reached its current stage in development. Three major stages in the evolution of products liability law have taken place: the rejection of caveat emptor, the erosion of the doctrine of privity, and the introduction of strict product liability.
In order to bring a product liability case, you must prove that the manufacturer of the product did not take reasonable care in making it. This can be difficult to prove, however, depending on how the product was made. A pharmaceutical manufacturer might have difficulty proving negligence. A car manufacturer, on the other hand, may have an easier time proving negligence.
A product liability case can be complicated, especially when there are multiple defendants in different jurisdictions. Forum shopping is a common strategy used by plaintiffs to find a sympathetic judge. This practice, however, has been severely curbed by the decision in Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court of California.
It is based upon negligence
For the release of a dangerous or defective product, a seller or manufacturer can be sued for product liability. The law defines negligence as any conduct that falls below a reasonable standard. A product may be dangerous because of a design flaw or a manufacturing error, or it may fail to be a safe product because of inadequate warnings or instructions. The duty of care that a product manufacturer or seller has to its customers is a crucial factor in determining the viability of any liability case.
The basic elements of a product liability case are simple, but they can be complex. A plaintiff must establish five essential elements to win a case. The plaintiff must prove that the product was defective at the time it was sold to him, that the manufacturer violated the duty, and that the plaintiff suffered an irreparable and measurable injury as a result of the breach.
Products liability law is a combination of tort law and contract law. Torts related to this area include strict liability, negligence, and deceit, while contract law relates to laws governing warranties and contracts. A plaintiff can assert many possible claims by combining different types of law.
The common law negligence defense protects a manufacturer from liability, but a plaintiff can still assert a claim for compensation. This defense allows the manufacturer to argue that it couldn’t have foreseen any damage caused by its product.
It is based on a manufacturing defect
Manufacturing defects are when something goes wrong during the manufacturing process. This can happen at any stage of the production or design process. For example, an error on an assembly line could lead to an automobile not working as it should. Marketing is a similar problem. A product manufacturer may not provide warnings or instructions about the risks. These problems can cause injury to consumers.
In order to be able to sue a manufacturer for product defects, you must have purchased the product from the defendant and sold it to a consumer. The product cannot have been sold to a consumer as a part of a business. In addition, there must be a manufacturing defect in the product in order to be liable. Manufacturing defects can result from poor design, manufacturing processes, or if the manufacturer fails to warn about them.
When a manufacturing defect occurs, the manufacturer is strictly liable for the damages caused by the defect. Even if a manufacturer is not at fault, they are still held liable if the defect is not known before purchase. This type of liability, known as strict liability, can be very beneficial for consumers, even though it is difficult to prove.
It requires a preponderance
You must prove your case by a preponderance. Your evidence must be convincing but not overwhelming. The burden of proof in product liability cases is on the plaintiff, and you must prove that the product was defective by a preponderance of the evidence. Every plaintiff has a different burden of proof, so it is important to understand the laws in your area.
It is filed in state court
A lawsuit for product liability is typically filed in a state court. Because most of these claims do not fall under federal law, they are not covered in federal court. However, the Department of Commerce has published the Model Uniform Products Liability Act to encourage uniformity among jurisdictions. The Act provides that a company can be held responsible if its product does not meet its specifications. If the seller clearly describes its product, it can also offer an express warranty.
Because of the complexity of these cases, it is often difficult to select a judge who will be sympathetic to plaintiffs’ needs. Many cases involve defendants from different states and many users. Thus, plaintiffs often resort to forum shopping to find judges sympathetic to their cause. This practice was recently restricted by the Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. against Superior Court of California decision.