In a typical injury claim, the injured party must show that she was acting in a reasonable manner when the accident occurred and that her own actions did not cause the injury. In the past, winning a product liability case was difficult as manufacturers could claim that the person injured herself using the product incorrectly. To help injured consumers win their product liability claims, lawmakers put into place the concept of strict liability for product injury cases.
What does "strict liability" mean to my case?
Strict liability means the manufacturer of a product is liable for any injuries the product causes, regardless of whether or not the defendant was negligent in manufacturing the product. The only exception to this rule is if the injured person was using the product in a manner that she clearly knew would lead to injury or if she knew of the defect and used it anyway.
For example, if a person was using a hot glue gun whose casing overheated and caused third-degree burns on her palms, she could hold the manufacturer liable for her injuries.
However, if the glue gun manufacturer had a warning on place stating that the casing gets extremely hot and to only hold the gun by the handle grip, the manufacturer might be able to avoid liability. In the second example, the user may be liable for her own injuries because she failed to read, or ignored, the warnings and used the product while knowing about the risk of the casing overheating.
Proving Strict Liability in Your Product Injury Case
If you suffered injury after using a dangerous or defective product, it is important to preserve all pieces of the product including packaging, instruction sheets/books, and all accessories. You must prove that the following points are true:
- The manufacturer sold the product in an unreasonably dangerous condition through either design or defect.
- The seller intended that the product would not undergo major changes before reaching the consumer.
- The defective product injured you or your property.
An item like a chainsaw is inherently dangerous if a consumer does not use it properly, so for a strict liability case to be valid, the consumer must prove that the manufacturer sold the chainsaw in an unreasonably dangerous condition, such as without hand guards or shields from the blade.
The second point of strict liability considers that in some product injury cases, the user tampers with the product, creating the unsafe conditions. Another similar situation can arise if another person’s interference, not the product itself, caused the injury.
Next Steps After a Serious Product Injury Occurs
Once you have sought medical attention for your injuries, you will need to identify the party liable for your injuries. A consumer product goes through a chain of handling before it reaches the purchaser. Therefore, the manufacturer, distributor, and retailer may all be liable for your injuries if handlers in all three levels ignored the hazard.
Filing an injury claim against any one of these liable parties can be difficult, especially if they belong to a large corporation with a dedicated legal team. Call a product liability lawyer from Brauns Law for help fighting for your right to compensation if you were injured by dangerous or defective product.
Contact us at 404-418-8244 to set up a consultation to discuss your legal options.