How to Apply Strict Liability Doctrine for Manufactured Products

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Whether the product defect is a dangerous drug, a lead-tainted toy, salmonella-ridden food, or a defective car, all manufactured products are governed under the doctrine of strict liability. Strict liability is a prominent doctrine in product liability law and this is based on public policy shall hold the product manufacturer liable for any injuries or damage caused by a product defect.

Product Defects

There are three kinds of product defects which a product liability claim may be based upon:

Manufacturing Defect

Defects which occur during the manufacturing process or may be caused by poor worksmanship or substandard materials.

Design Defect

The defect is in the inherently dangerous or useless product design so no matter how the product is carefully manufactured, it may cause injury because it is inherently dangerous.

Marketing Defect

This is also known as a failure to warn defect and can cause injury or damage because of inherent non-obvious dangers to users which were not adequately warned or given information about.

Liability for Damages

As strict liability for manufactured products imply, even if the manufacturer was not negligent in any of the above-mentioned product defects or there was no fault on the part of the company, such company shall still be held liable for the damages caused by a defective product.

Good faith or even due diligence or the fact that the defendant company took all the necessary precautions cannot be a valid defense against strict liability. Because with or without fault or negligence, the company who manufactured the product shall be held liable for the injuries caused by the defects.

Manufacturer Responsibility

In the case of Greenman v. Yuba Power Products, it was laid down that in order to reduce the hazards to life and health of consumers caused by defective products in the market, the responsibility must be fixed on the manufacturer. As the companies are responsible for manufacturing the product, it can anticipate some hazards and guard against the recurrence of defects. It is further stated in this case that, “It is to the public interest to discourage the marketing of products having defects that are a menace to the public. If such products nevertheless find their way into the market it is to the public interest to place the responsibility for whatever injury they may cause upon the manufacturer, who, even if he is not negligent in the manufacture of the product, is responsible for its reaching the market.”

Liability of Parties in the Distribution Chain

Subsequent jurisprudence also provided that the doctrine of strict liability for manufacturer products shall apply to all parties involved in the manufacturing, distribution, and sale of defective products which may include the supplier, distributor, or even retailers. In California, the doctrine of strict liability in product liability cases is widely applied.

If you have any questions about any injury or damage caused by a product you suspect to be defective and if you live in California, consult with a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer or a product liability attorney to help you seek recovery for any losses you may have incurred in the use of such defective products.