Strict Products Liability

Strict Products Liability

November 8, 2021Firm News

Strict products liability is a legal theory under which victims can hold a defective product designer, manufacturer, or seller responsible for injuries regardless of intent. In other words, there does not need to be evidence of negligence, as long as an injury can be directly linked to the defective product. 

When is Strict Liability Applied? 

Strict liability applies to three types of product defects in Missouri:

  • Manufacturing Defects: A defect that occurs during the manufacturing process, and as a result, the product either becomes contaminated, differs from the manufacturer’s intended specifications or design, or a single product differs from other units. 
  • Design Defects: A product’s design is flawed, making it inherently and unreasonably dangerous. Meaning, the benefits of using the product do not outweigh the risk of injury. As such, the product does not perform as safely as an average consumer would expect it to perform when used in a reasonably foreseeable manner.
  • Marketing Defect: The manufacturer, distributor, or seller failed to provide proper instructions for a product’s use or failed to warn of the risks associated with its use, although a typical consumer would not know about them 

Liability can fall on any party involved in a defective product’s chain of distribution, in addition to the manufacturer, distributor, and seller—for example, a manufacturer of parts, a party responsible for assembling or installing the product, or the wholesaler. 

Proving Strict Products Liability

Under strict liability law, a manufacturer, distributor, or seller can be held liable if you can provide evidence that: 

  • The product is unreasonably dangerous.
  • The defect caused your injury.
  • You were injured or suffered personal losses.
  • The product was used as it was intended. 

A product is considered defective if it is not safe for its intended use. Proving a product that caused your injury was defective is typically the toughest element of a strict product liability lawsuit. The evidence that you must produce to demonstrate the flawed nature of a product will vary based on the type of defect alleged (e.g., manufacturing, design, marketing). For example, in design defect cases, the court will usually conduct a risk-utility analysis to determine whether the product was unsafe. In manufacturing defect cases, there must be evidence that the defect was present when the product left the manufacturer’s control. In failure to warn or marketing defect cases, you must prove that the product did not have a warning or that the warning was inadequate, which led to your harm. 

Strict Liability is Not Absolute Liability

Although a plaintiff’s (victim’s) burden of proof under strict products liability is less stringent than a negligence claim, multiple cases tried in Missouri have made it clear that strict products liability does not mean absolute liability. Plaintiffs will still face many legal hurdles before successfully holding a manufacturer, distributor, or seller responsible. 

We Can Help

If you or a loved one has been injured by a defective product in Missouri, our attorneys at Goldblatt + Singer are well-versed in products liability law. Our St. Louis product liability attorneys have helped countless consumers recover the compensation they deserve. Call (844) 478-5529 or message us online to schedule a free consultation today 

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