Why Your Strict Product Liability Claim May Collapse
Strict product liability laws allow you to pursue damages without proving that the defendant was negligent or at fault. All that you need to prove is that a product was defective, the defect caused you harm, and that you suffered substantial damages as a result of the harm. Strict liability laws often apply to dangerous items, such as chemicals meant for home use.
However, this doesn't you have a slam-dunk case if you can prove the above elements. There are still defenses the defendant may use to escape liability; here are some examples of these defenses:
Wrong Use of a Product
You need to prove that you were using the product as intended if you are to win a strict liability claim. This means that you must have read, understood, and executed the manufacturer's instructions. If you can't prove that, then the manufacturer can claim that you were using the product in the wrong way, and that's why you were injured.
Take a case where you are required to use a pesticide by pouring the pesticide into the water and not water into the pesticide. You don't have a case if you don't follow the instruction and the pesticide ends up spluttering into your eyes.
Third Party Interference
If a third party interferes with the product before you handled it, then it is the third party you should hold liable for the damage, and not the manufacturer. This is because, in such a situation, it is the third party that caused the injury, and not the manufacturer. Take an example where you have purchased canned food from a store, but then the delivery guy handles the can carelessly leading to its puncture and contamination. In this case, it is the delivery guy that is liable for the damages, and not the seller or manufacturer of the canned food.
Lastly, there is the assumed risk defense, which applies when you know something is dangerous but still goes ahead to use it. You are expected to avoid using any dangerous product the moment you suspect the danger. Failure to do this makes you responsible for your injuries. For example, many beverages come with the instruction "do not accept if seal is broken." If you consumed such a beverage despite seeing clearly that the seal is broken, then you shouldn't even try claiming damages from the manufacturer of the beverage if it ends up causing you injury.
As you can see, you should never assume that you have an easy case just because it falls under strict liability laws. Strengthen your case from the beginning by consulting an injury lawyer, such as from Cascade Law Corporation.