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Dangerous Products

Dangerous Products are hazardous materials that can cause harm to a person.

Injury by a defective or dangerous product gives an advantage when compared to injury by other things- one has an easier time recovering compensation because of the presence of certain special rules and theories of recovery in the field of product liability law.

Recoveries from such injuries are based on certain theories, primary ones being: strict liability; negligence; tortuous misinterpretation and, breach of warranty, depending on the law in the applicable state.

Product Liability means the seller or the manufacturer is held liable for placing a defective product in the hands of the consumer.

Strict Liability

For these reasons law has introduced a doctrine known as strict liability so as to help injured people, due to defective or dangerous products, and allow them to recover compensation from the manufacturer or the seller without showing that they were actually negligent

Strict liability does not apply in cases when a consumer has purchased a product from places that sell various products and not just one type of product such as garage sale, thrift store.

Section 402A of the Restatement (Second) of Torts incorporated a provision that stated strict liability on the part of the manufacturer. It states, a manufacturer is liable for product or goods defect that occur during the manufacturing process not taking into consideration the level of care employed by the manufacturer. Courts later also include cases that do not involve errors in manufacturing, insufficient warnings about the product, in the strict liability cases.

The Restatement (Third) of Torts: Strict Liability rules are applicable to cases that involve errors in manufacturing and negligence rules for other type of product liability cases.

Negligence

Under the theory of negligence a plaintiff must prove five basic elements:

  • To the plaintiff, manufacturer owed a duty
  • Manufacturer breached the duty owed to the plaintiff.
  • Plaintiff’s injuries actual cause-breach of duty
  • Plaintiff’s injury approximate cause, also, – breach of duty
  • Plaintiff suffered actual damage due to this act of negligence.

In a product liability case, the law also sets standard of care to act as a framework at the time of manufacturing. Even after the plaintiff’s proof that the standards set were unmet, it cannot recover unless it proves the two-

  1. It is just for the manufacturer’s negligence that the plaintiff suffered losses.
  2. The manufacturer could have foreseen the risk at the time of manufacturing.

Tortuous Misinterpretation

A claim in the product liability case can be because of false information provided to the consumer rather than defective products. A person harmed because of this is said to recover from misinterpretation.

Tortuous misinterpretation appears in three basic forms:

  1. Fraudulent misinterpretation – person engaged in act of deceit, where person knows that the statement made by him to the plaintiff is false and still the statement is made.
  2. Negligent misinterpretation- unintentionally a wrong statement was made to the plaintiff
  3. Few jurisdictions allow for strict liability in case where a manufacture makes a statement in people about the safety of the product.

Defenses to Product Liability

A defendant can fight on various points

  • Plaintiff misused the product in a manner that could not have been foreseen by the manufacturer For instance a lawnmower used for removing a number of rocks from the roadway back to the bed of rocks, the plaintiff gets hit by one of the rocks shot, the defendant can argue on the fact that it wasn’t reasonably foreseeable about the use of the product in this situation.
  • Plaintiff’s own negligence in using the product.
  • Plaintiff’s own assumptions about the risk associated with the product.
  • In tortuous misinterpretation it is seen that plaintiff’s reliance on the seller’s statement is justifiable, plaintiff’s reliance is not justifiable there are chances of it losing the case.
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