PERSONAL INJURY I PRODUCT LIABILITY: Product Liability – Strict Liability (Manufacturing Defect, Design Defect, Failure To Warn) and Negligence
October 07, 2019
Consumers injured by a manufacturing defect, design defect and/or a failure to warn may have a personal injury claim. Specifically the consumer may have a viable product liability lawsuit in which the manufacturer or distributor would be strictly liable for the injuries.
In addition to a strict product liability claim, an injured consumer may also plead negligence in the alternative. A cause of action for negligence arising from the use of a product is distinctly separate from a strict liability theory of recovery. In 2008, the Court in Conte v. Wyethmade the distinction between these two causes of action. Product Liability: Strict Liability –versus – Negligence: Failure-to-Warn.
“In addition to a strict product liability claim, the injured party may have a negligence claim which is a separate and distinct bases for liability. Strict product liability and negligent claims do not automatically collapse into each other because the injured party may allege both when a product warning contributes to the injury.” (Conte v.Wyeth, Inc. (2008) 168 Cal.App.4th 89, 101 [85 Cal.Rptr.3d 299].
Negligence – Failure-to-Warn: “Failure to warn in strict liability differs markedly from failure to warn in the negligence context. Negligence law in a failure-to-warn case requires a plaintiff to prove that a manufacturer or distributor did not warn of a particular risk for reasons that fell below the acceptable standard of care, i.e., what a reasonably prudent manufacturer would have known and warned about. Strict liability is not concerned with the standard of due care or the reasonableness of a manufacturer’s conduct.” Idat 101
Product Liability: Strict Liability– Failure-to-Warn:“The rules of strict liability require a plaintiff to prove only that the defendant did not adequately warn of a particular risk that was known or knowable in light of the generally recognized and prevailing best scientific and medical knowledge available at the time of manufacture and distribution. Thus, in strict liability, as opposed to negligence, the reasonableness of the defendant’s failure to warn is immaterial. Stated another way, a reasonably prudent manufacturer might reasonably decide that the risk of harm was such as not to require a warning as, for example if the manufacturer’s own testing showed a result contrary to that of others in the scientific community. Such a manufacturer might escape liability under negligence principles. In contrast, under strict liability principles the manufacturer has no such leeway; the manufacturer is liable if it failed to give warning of dangers that were known to the scientific community at the time it manufactured or distributed the product. Similarly, a manufacturer could not escape liability under strict liability principles merely because its failure to warn of a known or reasonably scientifically knowable risk conformed to an industry-wide practice of failing to provide warnings that constituted the standard of reasonable care.” Idat 101
In summary it is important to retain the services of an experienced personal injury lawyer. Specifically when it comes to a product liability claim, an experienced personal injury attorney should plead in the alternative strict liability and negligence to make sure a liable defendant does not escape liability.
If you or someone you know has been injured by use of a defective product has a product liability claim we invite you to call us today at 619-432-5145 for a free consultation with one of our experienced product liability attorney and liability lawyer.
Articles discussing damages available in product liability and personal injury claims are linked below:
Additional articles discussing specific product liability actions are linked below: