What is strict liability in reference to products liability?
In Tennessee and elsewhere the concept of products liability is that sometimes a company may make something that at the time it is designed or built is inherently and unreasonably unsafe to its intended customers. Anyone who suffers an injury or loss from using such a product, or surviving family members of a person who dies as a result of using it, may be able to seek redress against the manufacturer or seller.
In some products liability cases, the plaintiff’s responsibility to prove negligence on the part of the defendant can be made easier under the concept of strict liability. The reason for strict liability in product liability is because often someone who is injured by a defective product may find it difficult and expensive to prove negligence on the part of the manufacturer. For example, the time and money required to undertake the legal discovery could be so substantial that many plaintiffs could be unable to afford to press a claim. The result could then 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 he or she was injured while using the unsafe design or build feature in the way it was meant to be used.
Strict liability is not an automatic way to establish a product manufacturer or seller’s liability, and there are some defenses against it. But used properly it can make the difference between being able to recover for such an injury and not being able to afford to try.