What Is Strict Liability in Product Defect Cases?

How to define strict liability in product defect cases.

Manufacturers and other parties in the distribution chain have a duty to consumers to provide products that are safe to use for their intended purpose. When a product causes an injury, a person may have a product liability claim for a design defect, manufacturing defect, or marketing defect. Under New Jersey law, there are also three types of product liability claims. A New Jersey product liability attorney reviews potential cases to determine which type of product liability claim applies to a case.

What Are the Types of Liability Claims?

Under New Jersey’s product liability laws, a claim for injuries based on a product defect can be filed under the legal theories of strict liability, breach of warranty, or negligence. Each legal theory has specific elements that a victim must prove to recover compensation for damages. If a victim is successful in proving liability for damages, the victim may receive compensation. These damages include:

  • The cost of medical and personal care;
  • Loss income, wages, commissions, and other forms of compensation for work;
  • Medical equipment and medications;
  • Scars and disfigurement;
  • Permanent impairments and disabilities;
  • Physical, emotional, and mental suffering and pain; and,
  • Other financial losses and out-of-pocket expenses.

Who Is Liable for a Defective Product?

Anyone in the chain of distribution may be liable for damages arising from an injury. Some examples are: 

  • Designers can be held liable for flaws in the design of the product that caused the product to be hazardous or dangerous.
  • Manufacturers may be liable for a product defect if an error occurred during the manufacturing process or the manufacturer deviated from the designer’s specifications.
  • Manufacturers, distributors, and retailers may be liable if a product is improperly labeled or does not have adequate warnings or instructions for use, which causes an injury.

A product liability attorney can investigate the claim to identify the parties who may be liable for damages based on the type of defect and the legal theory that applies in the case.

How Do You Recover Compensation Under Strict Liability?

When strict liability applies in a product liability lawsuit, the plaintiff (consumer) does not need to prove negligence on the part of the defendant (party liable for the product). The victim is required to prove are that the product was not changed or tampered with after it was manufactured, and the product was the proximate cause of the victim’s injuries.

In other words, if a product was defective when received by the consumer because it lacked something that would make it safe for its intended use or had an inherent element that made it unsafe for its intended use, the defendant can be held liable for damages without any further proof of negligence. The plaintiff only needs to prove the product was defective. Strict liability applies in most manufacturing defect claims. The law assumes that a mistake was made during the manufacturing process because the product was defective when it left the manufacturer. Therefore, it is the defendant’s burden to prove that it was not negligent.

Contact a New Jersey Product Liability Attorney for More Information

A product liability case can be complicated because it may involve very detailed and specific questions related to product design and manufacturing. Depending on the product, the case may require the use of multiple experts to identify the defect and prove the defect caused your injury. If a product injures you, make sure to schedule a consultation with our New Jersey product liability lawyers today to discuss legal options.

Posted in: Products Liability