Product liability claims are some of the most complex and difficult to undertake for many different reasons. Many people mistakenly believe that the only proof that is needed in a product liability case is that there was a defect with a product or that a property was not well maintained, causing injury. However, they are more complicated than this. In order to win a product liability lawsuit, the plaintiff must prove that someone is at fault – or to blame – for an injury or death. There are three main categories when it comes to product liability: strict liability, negligence, and breach of warranty. Before you decide to pursue this type of case, it is important that you have an understanding of each of these product liability methods. In doing so, you will have a better idea of your options moving forward and what the best route will be in order to ensure you win your case and those responsible for the design, manufacturing, advertisement, or distribution of the product that caused you harm are held accountable.
Different Types of Product Liability
For starters, let’s dive a little deeper into each of these theories of product liability:
- Strict Liability – This is perhaps the most common method used in these types of cases, as it does not require proof of fault. Instead, strict liability cases only requires the plaintiff to prove an injury was suffered because of the manufacturer’s defective product.
- Negligence – Another way to win a product liability lawsuit is by proving that an injury occurred because of the manufacturer’s negligence. In order to do so, the following will need to be proven:
- The manufacturer owed a duty of care to the plaintiff
- The manufacturer breached the duty of care
- The breach of duty caused the plaintiff’s injury
- The plaintiff was injured by the manufacturer’s conduct
As you may have gathered, the manufacturer’s fault is central to a negligence case.
- Breach of Warranty – When a manufacturer or seller guarantees that the product is safe and ready for sale, he must be true to his word. So, when a seller promises “satisfaction guaranteed or your money back” and a consumer is not satisfied, he may be able to sue for breach of warranty.
Determining Legal Liability
Now that we have gone over the different options for pursuing product liability claims, let’s look at how legal liability – or fault – is determined. The general rule is that: if a person is injured or involved in an accident because another person was less careful or negligent, the less careful person must pay for the damages incurred. In most cases, fault is determined by this rule of carelessness, or by one of the following:
- An accident happened as the result of someone else’s property that was poorly maintained or built
- A negligent person caused an accident while working for someone else, making the employer legally responsible for any injuries or damages
- An accident was caused by a defective product, making both the manufacturer and seller of the product liable
Proving fault is no easy feat and comes with a lot of red tape and specific guidelines, which is why it is recommended that you retain the services of a product liability lawyer from Atkins and Markoff before moving forward. To learn more about these types of cases or to set up a consultation with one of our Oklahoma personal injury lawyers, please contact us today.