Whenever you buy a product, you as a consumer have the right to assume that product will be reasonably safe when you use it. Even if you misuse the product and a defect causes you to suffer an injury, you retain the right to demand compensation from the product manufacturer. This right to file a product liability claim under any circumstance is a cornerstone of the legal concept of “strict product liability.”
Of course, strict product liability does not guarantee a claimant or plaintiff any amount of damages. It does not even guarantee that the product maker will be found liable for the defect that led to the consumer’s injury. Instead, strict product liability ensures is that a product manufacturer, distributor, or vendor can be liable for any injuries caused by a defective product through a court’s ruling.
Furthermore, and perhaps most importantly, strict product liability laws don’t require the claimant or plaintiff to prove that the defending product maker was negligent or at fault in order to prevail. A product manufacturer could take reasonable steps to prevent their product from becoming defective with misuse – such as applying warning labels to the packaging and increasing the product’s structural integrity – and still be ordered to pay compensation to a claimant if they are hurt while using or misusing that product.
When Strict Product Liability Doesn’t Apply
Not all product manufacturers are held to strict product liability rules for all of their products at all times. Wrinkles in the law can allow a product maker to escape strict liability standards, which would require a plaintiff to prove the product maker’s negligence if a product defect claim was filed against them.
Different states also interpret product liability laws differently. In some states, like South Dakota, product manufacturers are often not held to strict product liability laws. Claimants there need to prove that they were hurt by a product that was being used as intended or due to no fault of their own, such as if there were no provided safety instructions and, therefore, safe operation of the product was impossible. Evidence can come in many forms, like product packages, receipts, etc., but what is most important is knowing how to use it convincingly in a case.
Legal Support in Rapid City for Injured Consumers
Whiting Hagg & Dorsey, LLP has an office in Rapid City, where we provide comprehensive legal support and representation to clients throughout South Dakota. If you were injured while using a product of any sort, then we want to hear from you. Using our 150+ years of combined attorney experience, we can help get to the bottom of your product liability case and determine if the product maker can be held responsible for your injuries. Depending on what we uncover during a free initial consultation, we can advise you on what we think the next best step would be, which could include hiring our product liability attorneys to manage your case.
To learn more about our legal services and your options, call (605) 519-6136 right away.