This article explores product liability law in Louisiana, explaining how it protects consumers by holding manufacturers accountable for defective products that cause harm.
|Protects Consumers By:
|Differs From Regular Injury Claims By:
|Holding sellers/makers accountable for flawed products
|Not requiring proof of negligence – only that a defect directly harmed
|Most goods like appliances, toys, vehicles, food, medicine
|Potentially including bystanders injured, not just product purchasers
|Negligence, strict liability, breach of warranty
|Seeking compensation from entire supply chain entities, not just user
|Financial compensation for medical, lost wages, other damages
|Awards potentially being reduced based on user fault contribution
What is product liability law and who does it protect?
Product liability law is a legal framework that protects consumers by holding product manufacturers, distributors and sellers accountable if flaws in their merchandise cause harm. It covers most goods and provides compensation for injured users or bystanders. Claims don’t require proving negligence – only that a defect specifically caused the damage suffered.
Earlier this year, the family of a Louisiana forklift driver alleged a design flaw in the forklift cab created a blind spot for the driver, which ultimately caused a fatal accident.
In spite of a request for a summary dismissal, the court ruled the forklift manufacturer could potentially be held liable for damages under the Louisiana Products Liability Act.
Product liability laws in Louisiana have a broad reach, covering a wide range of goods.
Product liability cases in Louisiana generally revolve around three theories:
In a product liability case, negligence implies that the manufacturer or supplier did not exercise due care in the design, production, or supply of the product. This could involve:
For example, if a car manufacturer was aware of a potential defect in the braking system of a vehicle model but decided to continue with production without addressing the issue, and this defect led to an accident, the manufacturer could be held liable for negligence.
. Strict liability is a legal doctrine that holds manufacturers, distributors, or sellers accountable for the harm caused by their products, regardless of whether they exercised due care. The key element here is that the product was defective and caused harm. For instance, if a consumer purchased a new toaster, and it exploded the first time it was used, causing injury, the manufacturer could be held strictly liable. The consumer would only need to prove that the toaster was defective and that the defect caused the injury.
This theory involves a failure to fulfill the terms of a promise, either express or implied, about a product’s performance or quality.
In all these cases, the goal is to ensure that consumers are protected from dangerous or defective products and that manufacturers or suppliers are held accountable for any harm their products may cause.
In Louisiana, the concept of “comparative fault” plays a significant role in product liability claims. Under this rule, if a consumer is partially to blame for their own injury, any compensation received may be reduced proportionately.
This concept serves as a fair system ensuring that parties are held accountable to the extent of their involvement in causing the harm. It is important for consumers to understand this rule, as it influences the outcome of product liability cases and the potential compensation they may receive.
When injured by a defective product, several steps can help protect your rights.
Taking these measures can assist in effectively dealing with an unfortunate incident involving a defective product.
A product liability lawsuit typically begins when a consumer files a complaint against the manufacturer or seller, alleging a defective product caused harm. Then, the process of ‘discovery’ takes place, where both sides gather evidence. This phase often involves:
After discovery, parties may attempt to resolve the case through settlement discussions. If no agreement is reached, the case proceeds to trial. At trial, both parties present their evidence and a judge or jury determines the outcome.
Understanding key terms can help consumers grasp the nuances of the legal process.
It’s also important to be familiar with terms like:
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