Fox & Farley, Attorneys at Law

Strict liability in products liability claims explained

The concept underlying products liability in Tennessee and elsewhere is that sometimes a company may make something that when it is designed or built is inherently unsafe to its intended customers. Anyone who suffers an injury or loss from using such a product, or surviving family members of someone who dies as a result of using an inherently unsafe product, may be able to seek redress against the manufacturer or possibly the seller. 

One characteristic of product liability claims is that in some instances, the plaintiff’s ordinary responsibility to prove negligence on the part of the defendant can be lessened. This can make it easier for the plaintiff to establish a basis to hold the defendant liable. The term for such a lower standard of defendant culpability is “strict liability”.

defective product may find it difficult and expensive to prove negligence on the part of the manufacturer. The time and money that might be required to go through legal discovery could be so significant that many plaintiffs might be unable to afford to press a claim. Especially where allegedly defective products intended for mass consumption are concerned, the result could be that the manufacturer could go on making and marketing something that is inherently dangerous to the public.

Strict liability allows a plaintiff in some cases to avoid the necessity of proving negligence on the manufacturer’s part, as long as he or she can show that the product was unreasonably dangerous as it was designed or built, and that plaintiff was injured using the unsafe design or build feature in the way it was meant to be used.

Strict liability is not a “magic bullet” for establishing a product manufacturer or seller’s liability, and there are some defenses against it. But it can make the difference between being able to recover for such an injury and not being able to afford to try.

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