Strict liability in Macon and Atlanta products liability claims

As an Atlanta and Macon defective products lawyer, I rely the legal doctrine of strict liability to recover damages for clients injured by defective products. The legal doctrine of strict liability imposes liability without fault on a person or business that sells a defective product that causes injury. Under strict liability, you do not need to prove that the defendant was negligent. The seller of a defective product will be legally liable even if the seller has exercised all possible care in the preparation and sale of the product.

There are two sub-categories of strict liability:

  • Strict liability for defective products.
  • Strict liability for failure to warn.

Strict liability: defective product

Products can be defective in either of two ways:

  • A design defect, inherent to all products of a particular type.
  • A manufacturing defect, affecting only some instances of a product that is otherwise adequately designed.

Defects attributable to the manufacturing process (i.e., manufacturing defects) might affect a single product or a large group of products linked by a common manufacturing problem.

In design defect cases, most courts use one of two tests to determine whether a product is defective:

  • The “risk/utility” test.
  • The “consumer expectation” test.

Under the risk/utility test, a design is defective if the benefits of a given design are outweighed by the design’s inherent risk of danger. One pertinent question is whether the design could have been made safer without substantially impairing the product’s utility.

Under the consumer expectation test, the focus is whether the product’s dangers exceed those that would be contemplated by an ordinary consumer with ordinary knowledge in the community. An ordinary consumer, for example, knows that a handgun is a dangerous product, but this dangerousness, considered apart from everything else, does not render the handgun defective.

Strict liability: failure to warn

In many jurisdictions, an otherwise non-defective product can be rendered defective by a failure to include adequate warnings or instructions. Generally, a manufacturer or retailer has no duty to warn of obvious dangers. However, a manufacturer will be held liable for failing to warn of non-obvious dangers of which it was aware or should have been aware.

In proving a failure-to-warn case, you must show both of the following:

  • The instructions or warnings were inadequate.
  • Had the instructions or warnings been adequate, the accident would not have happened.

You will normally have to prove that you would have read the warnings. If you testify that “I never read warnings,” you will have problems establishing a failure-to-warn case.

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