Product liability is a legal theory that holds manufacturers, distributors, and sellers accountable for injuries caused by defective products. To prevail in a product liability claim, the plaintiff must prove the following elements: the product was defective, the defect made the product unreasonably dangerous, and the defect caused the plaintiff’s injuries. Knowing about the common defenses to product liability claims in 2023 is essential for both consumers and manufacturers. Consumers benefit from this knowledge as it helps them understand the potential arguments and tactics manufacturers may employ to refute their claims. This insight allows consumers to build stronger cases, safeguard their rights, and increase their chances of receiving compensation for injuries caused by a defective product. For manufacturers, awareness of these common defenses is crucial to protect their interests, potentially avoid liability, or reduce the damages they may be required to pay. Consequently, understanding these defenses can contribute to a fair and balanced resolution of product liability disputes in 2023.
- Lack of Defect
The defendant may argue that the product was not defective at all or that the defect was not unreasonably dangerous. To prove a defect, the plaintiff must show that the product did not meet the reasonable expectations of the ordinary consumer. The plaintiff may also need to show that the product violated a safety standard or regulation.
- State of the Art Defense
The defendant may argue that the product was designed and manufactured by the state of the art at the time of its manufacture and that no safer product was available at the time. This defense is often used in cases involving complex products, such as medical devices or aircraft.
The defendant may argue that the plaintiff misused the product in a way that was not foreseeable or intended and that the plaintiff’s injuries were caused by their misuse of the product. To succeed in a misuse defense, the defendant must show that the plaintiff’s use of the product was unforeseeable and unintended. The defendant must also show that the plaintiff’s misuse of the product was the sole cause of their injuries.
- Assumption of Risk
The defendant may argue that the plaintiff knew about the risk of injury from the product, but chose to use it anyway. To succeed on an assumption of risk defense, the defendant must show that the plaintiff was aware of the specific risk of injury that caused their injuries. The defendant must also show that the plaintiff voluntarily chose to use the product despite the known risk.
- Comparative Negligence
The defendant may argue that the plaintiff was partially at fault for their injuries by failing to take reasonable precautions to avoid harm. For example, the defendant may argue that the plaintiff was injured while dangerously using a product. To succeed in a comparative negligence defense, the defendant must show that the plaintiff’s negligence contributed to their injuries.
- Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations is the time limit within which a plaintiff must file a lawsuit. The statute of limitations varies from state to state, but it is typically two or three years from the date of the injury. If the plaintiff fails to file their lawsuit within the statute of limitations, the defendant may be able to have the case dismissed.
Defendants in product liability claims often raise a variety of defenses in an attempt to avoid liability. However, plaintiffs can overcome these defenses by presenting strong evidence to support their claims. Thus, understanding the common defenses to product liability claims in 2023 is crucial for both consumers and manufacturers. While product liability claims aim to ensure safety and accountability, it’s essential to navigate these cases with a comprehensive understanding of the legal landscape. At Garcia & Phan, we are committed to providing expert guidance and advocacy in such matters. If you have been affected by a defective product or are a manufacturer facing a product liability claim, don’t hesitate to contact us at (714) 586-8298.