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Common product liability defenses

On Behalf of | Jul 7, 2023 | Products Liability

When businesses produce products, there can be mistakes in the manufacturing process. This is not always the case when an accident happens. Sometimes the accident is due to negligent use and other factors.

Knowing how to defend against alleged manufacturing defects can help you if you own a business.

Unrelated injury

Sometimes, the injury does not relate to the specific product. This defense works if a business can show that the injury was not related to using the product or was a preexisting condition.

Product liability waivers

A product liability waiver is a document that a person has to sign or acknowledge before they use the product. This means that a consumer uses the product at their own risk.

Examples of these exist in many forms. One of the most common is the terms and conditions of computer or device software.

If the consumer agrees to it, they cannot sue directly. Instead, they have to submit to binding arbitration. A neutral party hears the case and determines liability in a confidential setting.

Contributory negligence

Contributory negligence implies that the consumer made a mistake while setting up or using the product. This reduces or eliminates the manufacturer’s liability.

Altered product or intended use

When a consumer alters a product, it shifts the liability of use to another party or the consumer themselves. Altering a product after it leaves the manufacturer can result in significant injury. This also applies if the consumer does not use the product for its intended purpose.

Assuming risk

If there is some obvious inherent risk in using the product, it can reduce liability. An example of this is sports equipment.

Many of these defenses also work for services a business renders.