Jersey City, NJ Common Defenses to Product Liability Claims
Did you know that as a plaintiff, you are not automatically entitled to a settlement? The defendant will likely apply different defenses to product liability against your claim in court to protect themselves from paying damages. When this happens, you will need the help of an experienced Hudson County Personal Injury Attorney.
Assumption of Risk
The defendant could claim ‘assumption of the risk’ if the plaintiff knew that the way they were using a product could result in malfunction or injury. Unlike negligence, this defense seeks to establish that the plaintiff showed a complete disregard for a known risk and, in doing so, was injured. This defense works when applied to a claim brought under negligence and breach of warranty.
- While some states allow the ‘assumption of risk’ as a defense in a strict liability claim, many do not. This means that the defense is only viable in certain cases.
Many states have a contributory or comparative negligence clause, which they all apply uniquely to negligence and breach of warranty claims. If the plaintiff is found to have contributed to the accident in one way or another, the defense can move to reduce or eliminate the compensation amount.
- Generally, a defendant can claim contributory or comparative negligence if the plaintiff used the product in a way other than intended.
Alternative Cause of Injury
A defendant could also argue that another factor caused the plaintiff’s injuries and not their product. Essentially, they must prove that the manner in which the accident occurred could not have been realistically predicted and, as such, could not be warned against or prevented through the product’s design.
- For instance, if a plaintiff is using a knife and is injured after being shoved from behind by another party, the defendant could argue that the cause of the accident was the ‘shove’ and not the knife.
In this defense, the defendant must prove that the plaintiff misused the product or used it in a way that is unforeseeable to both the average purchaser and the product’s manufacturer. For instance, a defendant can claim unforeseeable usage if the plaintiff used a pair of shears to pull out a tooth and, in so doing, sustained an injury. For unforeseeable damage to be successful, the defendant must convince the judge or jury that a responsible person would not have used the product in the same way as the plaintiff.
Statute of Limitations
The expiration of the statute of limitations is a defense that can be used in all product liability lawsuits. The statute of limitations is a deadline placed on a claim after which you cannot take legal action against the at-fault party. If the plaintiff misses the deadline, the defendant can have the case thrown out of court.
Talk to a Hudson County Personal Injury Attorney
The defenses to product liability are based on the three main types of product liability claims that exist, breach of warranty, strict liability, and negligence. While the defense works to discredit your claim, your Hudson County Personal Injury Attorney will work to prove your case based on these principles.
Attorney Anthony Carbone has over 30 years of experience handling personal injury cases. If you need help navigating a product liability case, contact him at 201-829-3829 to schedule a consultation today.