Product liability is about holding the manufacturer or the seller of a product responsible for distributing a faulty commodity to the consumer. Products with inherent defects will harm the consumer, and this forms the cornerstone of a liability claim. The manufacturer becomes responsible for compensating any injury that comes as a result.
A motorcycle accident injury lawyer in Denver, for example, will help their client determine if their case is about a breach of warranty, strict liability, or negligence. Products are considered by law to be tangible property, but sometimes, product liability will stretch to cover real estate, pets, documents, and other things. Note that responsibility could rest on anyone in the distribution chain, including the wholesaler, manufacturer, retailer, and assembler. Defenders will argue against the claim stating:
Here, the defendant will say that the plaintiff knew the risks before they used the product. They were okay with using the product even when knowing such risks, so the injury could not be the defendant’s fault. In this case, the evidence will have to prove knowledge and a disregard for the risk.
If as they had it, the plaintiff changed the product substantially, the defendant could argue to be excused from the claim. They could pose that the modification resulted in the injury, so they are no longer liable. Note that the only time such changes will excuse the manufacturer is if the changes were unforeseeable. If they could have forecasted that the consumer would make the said alteration to the product, the modification will not count as a defense.
Comparative fault or negligence
Some states will allow the defendant to claim negligence on the consumer’s side. It could be argued that action on the plaintiff’s side caused them to have the accident. Some states will not allow this defense. In other cases, the amount at which the plaintiff is found responsible will match with the reduction in their recovery.
Sometimes, the defendant argues that the statute of limitations has already expired. This is typically the time the plaintiff has to present their claim for a personal injury before it becomes invalid. In this defense, the plaintiff needs to have filed their petition and started a lawsuit after three years have passed from the accident. In some states, this limitation period is shorter.
The defendant can also choose to assert that the accident was caused by another factor that is different or is not their responsibility. In this case, the defendant will have to prove that their product worked as it should. The court will demand to be convinced that the product did not cause the injury.
In the end, as liability claims will come in different types, the defenses will need to be applied differently. There are cases where negligence will not defeat the claims. Some arguments will work with substantial change and fail to work with strict claims for liability. If you feel unsure about how to proceed, seek the advice of an expert.