Product Liability

Since 1875 | Northeast Louisiana’s Oldest and Largest Law Firm

Product Liability

Hudson Potts and Bernstein has been at the forefront of products liability law in Louisiana for over a century. One the firm’s late partners assisted in writing the Louisiana Product Liability Act and its attorneys have defended all manner of products cases, from vehicles and firearms to industrial equipment and retail products. With this history, HPB’s record in defending manufacturers and sellers in products claims is unmatched.

Product liability is an area of law that deals with products that have caused harm, injury, or damage to a person or their property because it was defective in some way. It provides recourse for those who have been injured by a defective product and gives them a way to get compensation for loss, injury, and other harm.

The defendants in these cases can be the manufacturer or a parts supplier, or another party at any point of the process.

Types of Product Liability

Product liability falls under one of four categories:

Manufacturing defect – The manufacturing of the product was faulty or not done correctly.
Marketing defect – The product risk warnings were inadequate, incorrect, or absent.
Design defect – The product design was not safe and safer alternatives were available.
Breach of warranty – The product breached an implied or express warranty.

Each of these carries specific standards. They can fall under negligence on the part of the defendant. However, the defendants typically can be held liable even if they had no knowledge or intent of the defect or problem. This is referred to as “strict liability.”

The Responsibility of the Plaintiff

The plaintiff has certain responsibilities in a product liability case. They must show three things in order for a strict product liability claim to succeed:

The product contained a defect or was in itself defective
That defect existed when the product left the defendant’s hand and did not occur after it was in the plaintiff’s or a third party’s possession
The product’s defect caused injury to the plaintiff
These criteria establish the defendant’s responsibility for the faulty product. This gives the plaintiff grounds to move forward with their case and win.

Standards of Product Defect

The courts have adopted two standards that aid in the assessment of product defects:

Consumer expectation standard – If the danger presented by using or possessing the product is not knowable and would be unacceptable to a reasonable person, then the product is defective. The intended use of the product as well as the nature of the product are all taken into account by the court.
Risk utility standard – If the risk of harm presented by using or possessing the product is greater than the benefits of the product design, it is deemed defective. The court takes into account the probability of a foreseeable harm as well as the magnitude of the harm as well as the risk factors. It looks at the warnings and instructions that are included with the product and the expectations of the consumer based on its marketing and portrayal. Available alternatives to the product are also taken into consideration.

For more than a century, Hudson, Potts, and Bernstein have been at the forefront of Louisiana product liability law. One of our founders helped to write the Louisiana Product Liability Act. That experience and commitment to excellence have been carried on and today we continue that rich heritage.

If you are a manufacturer or seller dealing with product claims, we can help. Contact us today and let us help you protect your business.

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