Product liability law: an overview

Every year, defective and dangerous products cause thousands of injuries across Kentucky and the rest of the U.S., but victims could be compensated for their losses under product liability law. This encompasses the rules that determine who is responsible for the defects. The foundation for these rules is the requirement that products meet the ordinary expectations of customers. Where these are not met, the manufacturer or seller may be at fault.

In the past, only the buyers of defective and dangerous products could be eligible for compensation. Now, though, anyone who foreseeably could have been injured is eligible. The product must have been sold in the marketplace, and for strict liability to apply, it must be a part of the ordinary course of business.

Something sold at a garage sale, for instance, could not form the basis for a product liability case. In a strict liability case, the plaintiff need only prove the product's defectiveness, not anyone's negligence.

There are three types of defects: design, manufacturing and marketing defects. The first is present from the beginning, and the second appears during the making or assembling of the product. The third covers improper labeling and inadequate safety instructions. Labeling and instructions are especially important for products that are unavoidably unsafe, i.e. products that cannot be made safer without losing their usefulness.

There is no federal product liability law, so Kentucky residents who believe they have a valid personal injury case may want to see a lawyer to learn about further distinctions. The lawyer might evaluate the case and even hire third parties to investigate. Medical experts may help link the reported injuries to the incident. Victims may then have their lawyer negotiate on their behalf for a fair settlement. If the other side refuses to pay out, victims might proceed to litigation.

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O'Brien Batten & Kirtley, PLLC

O'Brien Batten & Kirtley, PLLC
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