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What protections are afforded by product liability law?

Consumers entrust manufacturers and other businesses to provide them with safe products for their use. When they fail to do so and customers are injured as a result, they should be held accountable. What circumstances allow a consumer to impose such liability?

Product liability is when a manufacturer or retailer is held liable for any injury that results from providing a consumer with a defective product. Products are required to meet the typical consumer expectations, so a defective product is one that fails to meet these expectations by imposing an unforeseen dangerous condition. Louisiana state statutes govern product liability and related claims are made pursuant to strict liability, negligence or violation of warranty. Product liability only exists when a product is purchased. However, the protections are not only afforded to the purchaser, but also to anyone that could have been foreseeably injured by it.

When a defective product is made available and sold, liability may be found on the part of numerous entities including the manufacturer, the retailer or the installer, among others. In addition to proving that the product was defective, the injured victim must also prove that the defect caused a dangerous condition. The types of defects commonly present in products liability cases are design defects, manufacturing defects and marketing defects, which include improper or inadequate labeling and warnings. Finally, plaintiffs may improve their case by shifting the burden of proof onto the defendant, or by being able to apply strict liability to their claim.

Those injured by a defective and dangerous product may be subject to significant financial damages as a result. To receive adequate compensation for their damages, they should properly identify the responsible parties seek to apply the easiest burden of proof and liability. A product liability advocate can assist a victim with their case and the receipt of any due compensation.

Source: Findlaw.com, "What is Product Liability?," accessed on Nov. 16, 2014

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