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Product Liability Law

Written by Kathleen Gagne
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Product liability laws have been enacted throughout the United States. Because they varied dramatically from state to state, the Federal government developed a Model Uniform Products Liability Act (MUPLA) that states can choose to use as the basis for their own laws. To date, there are no Federal product liability laws, and the state laws fall under tort laws.

The Use of Product Liability Laws

Generally, product liability suits are based on damages to the claimant or group of claimants. These damages can include injury, ill health, or death resulting from use of the product. In most cases, they are brought on the basis of strict liability which places 100 percent of the responsibility for the injuries on the manufacturer of parts, the assembly manufacturer, the wholesaler, or the retail seller. The issue of misuse by the consumer does not reduce the responsibility of the parties noted above if the product is found to be defective or unreasonably dangerous for its intended use.

Unlike other lawsuits, these suits totally eliminate the possibility of any responsibility being placed on the injured parties. That means that contributory negligence, often cited in cases of automobile accidents, is not an acceptable defense. In some cases, manufacturers have based a defense on the claim that the product, when manufactured, was state-of-the art

Product Liability Lawsuits

If you are considering a lawsuit based on an injury resulting from a defective product, there are some issues you should consider. As the claimant, you and your attorney will be responsible for proving the claim. As soon as possible after the incident, you and any witnesses should be writing down everything you remember about the injury. Pictures taken shortly afterward can be helpful in court. Make sure that you discuss the defective product with your attorney so that a chain of evidence can be established. Finally, you should contact an experienced product liability attorney to determine whether your case has merit.

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