Chanfrau & Chanfrau

Product Liability and Strict Liability

By Kelly Chanfrau, Esq. on December 10, 2018

Consumer protection law book and gavelIn most injury cases, the plaintiff must show that the defendant acted negligently, resulting in an injury or harm. This means that proving fault is a key part of obtaining compensation for injuries and losses. That is not the case with strict liability, which is an important aspect of product liability lawsuits over dangerous or defective consumer goods.

The Daytona Beach, CA product injury lawyers of Chanfrau & Chanfrau would like to go over the basics of strict liability and how it applies to consumer accident cases. This should help you understand your legal options following a product injury.

Strict Liability Defined

Strict liability means that the seller, distributor, or manufacturer of a defective product is responsible for the harm befalling the injury victim. This is regardless of any attempts made by the seller, distributor, or manufacturer to prevent any defects.

Why Strict Liability Matters

Given the nature of most injury cases, it can be difficult for a consumer injured by a product to prove negligence on the part of a seller, distributor, or manufacturer. This led to many consumer plaintiffs losing their cases. Given these facts, courts and state lawmakers felt that they could improve existing policies to help consumers rather than put that at risk of further losses.

Keep in mind that while strict liability sounds straightforward, it sounds simpler than it really is.

What Must Be Proved in a Strict Liability Case

In strict liability cases for defective products, the following must be demonstrated:

  • The product that injured you had some kind of unreasonably dangerous defect upon use. This defect may have been the result of design problems, manufacturing problems, or issues with handling, shipping, and distribution.
  • The injury occurred when the product in question was being used safely and as intended.
  • The product that caused the injury was not substantially different than it was when it was sold to the consumer.

Example of Strict Liability

Let’s consider a circular saw, for example. The circular saw was in fine working order because it was the same as it was upon purchase. If the consumer is injured because of a broken blade while cutting planks as the saw would normally be used, the consumer may seek compensation under strict liability laws.

Awareness of the Defect

One of the main forms of defense that the defendant in a product liability case may use is to claim the consumer was aware of the defect. In other words, the consumer noticed that a product was defective in some way, and yet continued to use the product regardless.

Example of Awareness of Defect

Now let’s say that the blade of the circular saw we mentioned earlier is substantially warped or altered after purchase. This is not the original condition of the circular saw when the consumer initially purchased it.

If the consumer noticed a change to the condition of the circular saw but continued to use it regardless, a company may claim that the consumer was aware of the defect and hence the company is not responsible for the injuries the consumer experienced.

Contact Chanfrau & Chanfrau

If you would like to learn more about your legs rights after being harmed by a defective or dangerous product, be sure to contact our team of product liability lawyers. The attorneys of Chanfrau & Chanfrau are here for the consumer. You can reach our Daytona Beach office by phone at (866) 610-0653, and our Palm Coast office at (386) 439-7760.

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