Previously, we began looking at a product liability case filed against Apple which seeks to hold the company liable for failing to install a lock-out feature on a line of mobile devices. The couple that filed the lawsuit argues that installing the feature could have prevented the accident that killed their daughter and left them injured.
It isn’t clear how far the case against Apple will get in the courts. There are several different legal theories upon which product liability claims can be based, including strict liability, negligence and breach of warranty. Different states have different requirements regarding elements, standards of proof, and presumptions.
Here in Kentucky, manufacturers may only be liable for injury death and property damage resulting from a product when the product was used in its “original, unaltered, unmodified condition.” If a consumer fails to use routine care, or fails to maintain the product as instructed, the manufacturer cannot be held liable. A manufacturer may, though, be held liable for injury or death attributable to ordinary wear and tear on a product.
Manufacturers may not be held liable for unauthorized alterations or modifications of a product which are a substantial cause for a consumer’s injuries, even if the product in question is defective. Likewise, manufacturers may not be held liable for injuries and death which are substantially caused by the consumer’s failure to exercise ordinary care under the circumstances in using the product in question. In other words, consumers who make unauthorized modifications and alterations to a product, or who use the product carelessly or negligently, do so at their own risk.
In our next post, we’ll continue looking at Kentucky law on product liability litigation and why it is critical to work with an experienced Kentucky products liability lawyer when seeking damages in such cases.