A Quick Primer on Strict Liability
From ladders to lifts to lawn-mowers, cranes to contraceptives, toys to tractors, products should be manufactured to be safe. Safe in the sense that consumer should not be exposed to products with design or manufacturing defects. Surely some products can be dangerous, but they should not be defective. Manufacturers owe it to consumers to provide sound products that will not cause bodily harm, severe injury, or death due to faulty manufacturing or design.
Unfortunately though, it does happen. For example, as of March 2012 12,000 lawsuits have been brought against the manufacturers of Yasmin/Yaz contraceptives. These contraceptives have been known to have severe side affects such as blood clots, pulmonary embolisms, and gallbladder related issues. Cases where someone is harmed due to defective products are categorized as “Product Liability” cases.
According to Product Liability laws an individual can hold the manufacturer of a bad or faulty product responsible for injuries incurred hile using the product. If found the product is unsafe due to a design or manufacturing problem, manufacturers can receive sever penalties and have to pay compensation to the plaintiff, the person bring the lawsuit against the manufacturer.
In some cases, Strict Liability can be cited as a claim for a Product Liability case. Strict Liability operates under the assumption that the defendant, the person being sued, was aware of the fault or defect in a product before it reached the plaintiff. Strict Liability is different from negligence because the plaintiff is relieved of the burden of proof (or the requirement to prove that any injuries were the direct result of a defendant’s negligence).
Strict Liability simply states when injuries or damages were sustained the defendant is responsible. However, in order to claim Strict Liability a few things must be true:
1. The defendant manufactured the faulty or bad product
2. The product was defective upon purchase by the plaintiff
3. The product was defective upon sale by the defendant
4. The fault in the particular product was to blame for the plaintiff’s injury
A particular case involving Strict Liability occurred in the 1970’s involving the Ford Pinto automobile. Feeling pressured to produce a new car to compete with Volkswagen in the small-car market, Ford rushed the production of the Pinto in a much shorter amount of time than they normally would have. during the production engineers discovered that rear end collisions easily ruptured the Ford Pinto’s fuel system which could quickly ignite. Rather than spend the $11 it would take on each car to implement a safer fuel system, which Ford owned patents on, ford continued with the production of the dangerous Pintos. Estimates indicate that around 500 deaths have occurred due to Ford’s faulty fuel system, and countless more injuries.
In the case of the Ford Pintos Strict Liability applied because:
1. Ford, the defendant, manufactured the defective automobile
2. The Pinto was defective when purchased by the plaintiff, or the consumer
3. The Pinto was defective when sold by Ford
4. The fault in the Pinto’s fuel system that caused the automobile to easily catch fire when arear end collision occurred was the reason for the consumer’s injuries.
On another note, manufacturers can be exempt from liability in such cases that the product was unsafe, but the consumer knew about it. The danger of the product must have been common knowledge to the public before the consumer used it, however.
In any case, it is valuable to read up on and become familiar with Product Liability and Strict Liability if you or a loved one has been the victim of a faulty or defective product. If you or someone you know has been injured because of a bad product, contact the Law Offices of Keith J. Stone. Keith Stone and his team have handled many Product Liability cases and can offer valuable experience that can help your case. they will work tot he best of their abilities to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.
San Diego, Imperial, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara, Ventura Counties including the cities of:
San Diego, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Santa Ana, Anaheim, Riverside, Chula Vista, Irvine, Glendale, San Bernardino, Huntington Beach, Oxnard, Fontana, Moreno Valley, Oceanside, Rancho Cucamonga, Santa Clarita, Garden Grove, Ontario, Pomona, Palmdale, Pasadena, Corona, Torrance, Escondido, Lancaster, Orange, Fullerton, Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, El Monte, Inglewood, Costa Mesa, Downey, West Covina, Victorville, San Buenaventura (Ventura), Norwalk, Burbank, Carlsbad, Temecula, South Gate, Murrieta, Mission Viejo, Rialto, Compton, El Cajon, Carson, Vista, Westminster, Santa Maria, Santa Monica, Santa Barbara, Hawthorne, Alhambra, Hesperia, Whittier, Newport Beach, Chino, San Marcos, Buena Park, Lakewood, Indio, Baldwin Park, Chino Hills, Blythe
Keith J. Stone also handles cases originating elsewhere in California and across the USA.