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What is strict liability?

If an individual has suffered a consumer injury caused by a product that the person purchased, then the person may be able to file a legal claim and, potentially, recover compensation for the individual's injuries. However, before moving forward with a products liability lawsuit, it is important to understand how the law operates so that a victim can make legal decisions that work best for the person.

Products liability adheres to a theory of strict liability. Whereas those who suffer serious injury in a car accident must show that the defendant was negligent in order to recover, this is not the case in a products liability lawsuit. To win on one of these claims, a victim must show that three conditions were present at the time of injury. First, the product must have had a defect that was unreasonably dangerous. This can be in the design, manufacture or marketing of the product. Second, the injury must have been caused by that defect as the product was being used as intended. Third, the product must not have been substantially changed from how it was sold. If these three conditions are present, then a victim can win under strict liability.

There are several reasons why this area of the law sticks to a strict liability theory. One reason is that it could be very difficult for a dangerous product victim to show negligence. Excessive amounts of time and money would have to be used to determine exactly where the negligence occurred, and this would be significantly detrimental to victims.

Fortunately, the law serves to protect those who have been harmed by a defective product. Thus, those who have suffered a consumer injury caused by a product should consider their rights as well as the best way to act on them.

Source: FindLaw, "Proving Fault in a Product Liability Case," accessed on Apr. 12, 2015

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