What is Strict Liability, and How Does it Affect Product Injury Cases in Utah?
If you were injured by a defective or dangerous product, you may be entitled to file a lawsuit against the product manufacturer. Filing a lawsuit like this may entitle you to substantial compensation to help cover the medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering you may face after a product injury.
Proving that a manufacturer was responsible for your injuries may be difficult, especially when the manufacturer may not have handled the product that injured you for months or years before your injury – and certainly wasn’t present when the injury happened. Because of this, Utah’s “strict liability” laws may help you with your product injury case. These kinds of rules apply not only for household device defects, but also for auto defect injuries, pharmaceutical injuries, and other products, and may help you prove your injury case. For a free consultation on your products liability case, consider taking your case to Salt Lake City product injury lawyer Darwin Overson, of Overson Law, PLLC.
Utah Products Liability Basics
There are multiple types of product injury cases, but they usually fall into three categories: manufacturing defects, design defects, and failure to warn cases. In a manufacturing defect case, the specific item that injured you had something wrong with it that lead to your injury. These cases cover things like missing screws or last-minute material substitutions on the factory floor that weaken products or make them dangerous. They also only affect the specific items that shared the same defect. Design defects, on the other hand, affect the entire line of products. In these cases, the way the product is designed or intended to be built has a flaw that causes injury. Design defects affect all products of the same design, and may injure dozens or hundreds of users. Failure to warn cases revolve around a product that has some dangerous feature. In these cases, product users are injured because the manufacturer failed to include warnings of dangers like sharp edges, moving parts, falling hazards, or potential battery fires.
Proving these cases in the traditional way requires showing that the manufacturer was somehow negligent in creating the product. This may require proof that the design team never tested the product for safety, that the factory workers were rushed or otherwise failed to pay proper attention when assembling the products, or that the manufacturers knew of a potential danger and failed to include warning documentation. This can be a high burden, especially for an injured customer who may have no clue how the manufacturing process works.
Utah Strict Liability in Products Liability Cases
To avoid making these cases difficult, Utah’s courts have created a process that holds manufacturers accountable for injuries their products cause. These rules are called “strict liability,” since the rules apply whether or not the manufacturer was negligent. Even if the manufacturer was extremely careful, if they let a defective product off the factory floor and onto store shelves, they may be held liable for any injuries that defect causes.
In order to prove a strict liability product injury case, there are three basic elements:
- You must prove that the product was unreasonably dangerous because of a product defect.
- You must prove that the defect existed when the product was sold (e.g. when it left the factory – not later when it sat on store shelves or in a warehouse).
- You must prove that the defective product caused your injuries.
The first element means that these strict liability rules do not apply to defect-less products. You cannot take advantage of these strict liability rules if the item you purchased had a safe design and functioned correctly, but you were injured anyway. Instead, you need to prove that the manufacturer should have known that the injury was possible, and could have prevented it by issuing a warning.
If you win your products liability case, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. This compensation could cover medical bills from your defective product injury, wages you lost if you had to miss work, and can compensate you for your pain and suffering. If your injuries were very severe, this could entitle you to high damages. Always talk to an attorney before accepting any settlement from the product manufacturers. If you take your case to court, a neutral jury will determine the value of your case – but if you settle, the other side may dictate what your case is worth. Having an attorney on your side can help you understand what your case is worth, and help you fight for fair compensation.
Salt Lake City Defective Product Lawyers
If you or a loved one was injured by a defective product in Salt Lake City, call Darwin Overson of Overson Law, PLLC today. Our Salt Lake City personal injury lawyer has practiced law for decades, helping hundreds of clients get compensation for their injuries. To schedule a free consultation on your injury case, call (801) 895-3143 today.