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Unavoidably unsafe products and liability

Some product liability claims in Kentucky involve questions about whether a product that caused harm was 'unavoidably unsafe." If a court finds that a product qualifies as unavoidably unsafe, the product manufacturer, distributor and seller would not be liable for any injuries that were caused by the product.

Although some products have known safety risks, the usefulness of a product must outweigh its risks in order to be deemed unavoidably unsafe. For example, a drug for curing poison ivy would not necessarily qualify as unavoidably unsafe if the drug had potentially serious side effects. Such a product would not be useful enough to justify the harm that it could cause. Furthermore, the existence of safe alternative treatments for poison ivy would render such a drug too risky to be considered unavoidably unsafe.

Even if a product is very useful and there are no alternatives available, the product must be marketed properly before it can be found unavoidably unsafe. The directions for use of the product must be written accurately and clearly, and there must be sufficient warning labels about the potential dangers of the product's use displayed on the packaging. After all these requirements are met, a product is still not unavoidably unsafe if there was a mistake during its preparation that caused the product to become dangerous or ineffective.

A person who has been harmed by a prescription drug or another consumer product might want to speak with an attorney to discuss a possible product liability claim. Legal counsel can conduct an investigation of the product to determine whether its seller, manufacturer or designer holds any responsibility for the victim's injuries. If the product was not unavoidably unsafe, an attorney can pursue the recovery of compensation for the client's injuries.

Source: FindLaw, "What Is an Unavoidably Unsafe Product?", accessed on March 17, 2015

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