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Product Liability

Written by Kathleen Gagne
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Product liability is a term often heard when a case involving serious injury or damage goes to court. Over the last few decades, several major movies have been made detailing the effects of manufacturer negligence or outright collusion designed to keep their awareness of product safety issues from being discovered. The law, however, does not restrict liability to those who know that a product is defective.

Product Liability Laws

Liability laws have been developed to protect consumers from the deleterious effects of buying dangerous or defective products. No company can possibly know in advance every time they develop a new product that there may be a serious safety issue related to manufacturing or to use of the product by inappropriate consumers. Manufacturers and retailers can be held liable for not notifying consumers of specific dangers.

Strict liability occurs when the manufacturer is known to have a greater understanding of risks associated with a product than they have conveyed to the consumers. Negligent liability occurs when a manufacturer fails to act in a reasonable manner to prevent injury by including concise instructions and warnings such as those that say, "May contain small parts. Not for use by children under three."

Product Liability Lawsuits

In most states, there are no limits on the punitive damages that can be awarded to persons injured due to manufacturer liability. In addition, injured consumers have years to file their claims. Manufacturers are trying to deflect the cost of losing these cases, often in the millions, by taking out product liability insurance.

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