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Understanding Products Liability Law

Products Liability is an area of personal injury law concerning the obligation of a product’s manufacturer and its retailers to assure their product is safe for its intended purpose and does not cause injuries to its users. The maker of the product and those retailing it generally have a legal duty to not place unsafe products into circulation. They may be liable for harms caused by an unsafe product where that harm is caused by normal use of the product in question. When we talk about products and products liability, as far as the law is concerned, this duty applies to consumer goods, medical equipment, vehicles, foods, and prescription drugs.

There are essentially three legal theories available on which one may proceed to seek compensation if they are injured or their property is damaged by a product during the normal (intended and ordinary) use of that product. Those three theories of liability are defective manufacture of the product, improper use instructions or warnings accompanying the product when it distributed to the consumer, or defective design of the product at the manufacturer.

It is important to note that there are defenses that may be raised by the product manufacturer in the event a product is alleged to be defective. Among those defenses are comparative negligence (negligence on the part of the injured party contributing to the cause of the injury), misuse of the product (not using the product for the intended purpose it was designed), and intervening acts of third parties who may share liability for the injuries a claimant suffers (an event or act attributed to someone other than the user, manufacturer, or retailer, that contributes to the cause of the injury).

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