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What is product liability?

Manufacturers, wholesalers and owners of retail stores are reasonably expected to provide safe products that do not harm consumers. When products bought or borrowed injure people in Kentucky due to defects, the people who sold or made the product could be liable. Although there are no federal product liability laws, many states have statutes that hold parties involved in manufacturing responsible for damages.

Depending on state laws, injured parties might claim negligence, breach of warranty of fitness or strict liability when filing a product liability claim. Strict liability is the most common offense. If a product is proven to carry a harmful defect, it does not matter whether the people who designed, made or sold it exercised great care. Any injury resulting from the use of the product will be considered the fault of whoever created the defect. Most applicable laws are those made by state judges or those that are taken from the Uniform Commercial Code.

Regardless of where one files, the plaintiff is responsible for offering proof of a product's defects. These defects could occur anywhere along the manufacturing chain and include marketing defects, manufacturing defects and design defects. A defect in design refers to an inherent flaw while a manufacturing defect occurs when a product is made. Typically, design defects will be in all products made using the design while manufacturing defects might only affect some products. A marketing defect refers to concerns such as failure to include necessary warnings or proper instructions.

Many people in Kentucky experience injuries due to product use each year and might find the above information useful. However, they should not think of the information as legal advice and might instead wish to seek further information from an attorney who could offer assistance in identifying who was responsible for a defect that caused injuries and then in filing a product liability claim.

Source: Cornell University Law School, "products liability law: an overview", September 12, 2014

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