What are defenses to products liability cases?
Most products liability cases, strict liability applies, meaning, a manufacturer is liable when an injured party shows that the product is defective; it’s irrelevant whether the manufacturer or supplier exercised due care. If there is a defect in the product that causes harm, the manufacturer will be liable for it.
However, there are certain defenses that can absolve the manufacturer, or result in decreased damages by showing that 1) at the time that the product was manufactured or sold, there was no other practical or reasonable alternative design for the product that would have made it less dangerous and still useful for its purpose (state of the art defense); 2) that an ordinary person using the product would know that it was dangerous and would exercise care in using the product (assumption of risk); or 3) although the product was dangerous, adequate warnings or instructions were included with the product. Furthermore, damages can be reduced if the injury resulted from the user altering or misusing the product, unless the misuse was reasonably foreseen by the manufacturer.