Understanding strict liability laws for product manufacturers in Georgia
Many cases in the field of personal injury law involve a direct action of another party that causes injury. In some, consumers are injured as a result of using a product that has a defect in its manufacturing, design or failed to adequately warn consumers of a hazard. The legal action taken to recover for this kind of injury is known as a product liability claim.
What is strict liability?
“Strict liability” is a doctrine under Georgia’s product liability law that allows an injured person to sue the manufacturer, distributor or retailer. Under the declaration, the plaintiff doesn’t have to prove the defendant’s negligence. They must, however, show that the marketed product caused harm to them.
When is strict liability applied?
Strict liability is primarily applicable in these 2 kinds of cases:
- Ultra-hazardous activities. Companies are already aware that their actions or products may result in strict liability cases if something goes wrong. That is regardless of whether they were being careful and following all regulations.
- Product liability. In Georgia, manufacturers are held strictly liable for the products they offer the public. They get into the manufacturing business knowing that they are responsible for any harm caused by their defective products. This applies even if they weren’t careless and they didn’t intentionally break any rules.
In addition, strict liability applies to 3 main types of product defects, which are:
- Manufacturing defects. It means that a product was manufactured in an unreliable or flimsy way and would be safe if produced correctly. It would not easily break or fail to cause injury. This kind of defect is limited to a particular product or batch.
- Design defects. This means an unsafe product design would harm even if appropriately used, marketed and manufactured correctly. It refers to an entire product line.
- Inadequate warning. A product can have a defective notice when some of its dangers are left out, or instructions are wrong or unclear. It also applies when a warning label is not readily accessible or visible, and when the instructions are not thorough enough.
The strict liability principle favors consumers by forcing manufacturers to research more and enhance their safety standards. In turn, the manufacturers pass on the cost of both research and lawsuits to the consumers depicted by higher prices.
How strict liability cases work
Retailers, distributors and manufacturers can all be sued for strict liability. However, they are the default defendants as they are responsible for creating or assembling the products. Because of the behavioral standards of those selling the products, the distributors and sellers can also be sued under strict liability. This policy ensures that consumers are not left without legal remedy since they cannot prove who caused the distribution chain defect.
Product liability laws regarding the burden of proof vary from state to state, making it essential to consult a knowledgeable personal injury attorney near you. In these strict product liability cases, a plaintiff must prove that
- The product injured the consumer.
- The product was unreasonably dangerous at the time of design, manufacturing or selling.
- The commodity reached the consumer without changes to the product as intended and expected of the seller.
- The merchandise harmed the plaintiff’s property.
- The goods were used correctly, as foreseen by a manufacturer or retailer of the product. For instance, when one uses a product for anything other than its intended use, the seller or manufacturer is not liable for the resulting injury.
- The product was in the same state at the time of injury as the time of purchase. If it is determined that the consumer altered the product themselves for whatever reason, then the retailer or manufacturer cannot be held liable for the injury.
How strict liability impacts personal injury cases
A strict product liability case poses a significant threat to a defendant whether it’s a manufacturer or seller. Simultaneously, it makes a plaintiff’s burden of proof simpler and allows them to recover the entire range of available damages in an average personal injury case.
These damages include compensation for:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Punitive damages
- Past and future lost wages
- All medical expenses
The defendant may attempt to prove that their product was not responsible for the injuries, or no harm or damage was caused. They may also claim misuse of the product, although the law states that manufacturers should anticipate abuse. To stand a better chance of recovering full compensation, you should save the product in question in its exact condition after the accident.
You should also consult a product liability or personal injury lawyer soon after you receive medical treatment. An attorney will inform you of your case’s complexities and provide you with legal advice, and represent your claim.
Proving your strict product liability claim
At the law firm of Westmoreland, Patterson, Moseley & Hinson in Macon, GA, we can help you recover the maximum eligible damages according to the applicable laws. We work on a contingency fee basis to ensure you are represented well. As one of Georgia’s oldest and most distinguished law firms, our reputable attorneys have over 200 years of combined experience.
If you or your loved one have suffered injuries due to a defective product, contact us today. Our lawyers consult with leading design engineers and product safety experts to determine your injury’s real cause. Knowing whether it was a design or manufacturing defect or an inadequate safety warning helps us build a stronger case.