Products Liability Law – Basic Principles

Products liability law is based on the very simple principle that the law must regulate how manufacturers, designers, or vendors interact with the consuming public in the sale, use and distribution of products. In regulating this relationship, the law imposes requisite duties and responsibilities on both parties to the consumer transaction. Briefly stated, those who place consumer products in the stream of commerce must ensure that the product is safe. Contemporaneously, the consumer is obliged to use the product within its specifications, paying heed to the warnings and instructions provided by the manufacturer.

The duty imposed on the manufacturer, designer, vendor, or developer of a product requires that a product which is defective not be placed on the market. If the manufacturer, designer, vendor or developer of that product breaches that duty, then it is responsible under a strict liability doctrine. Additionally, the court will view the actions of the designer, manufacturer, developer, retailer, or distributor of a product under a negligence theory in reviewing whether the entity acted reasonably in the manufacture, design, development, distribution, or sale of the product.

Those who place consumer products in the stream of commerce must ensure that the product is safe.

The law mandates that the consuming public uphold its duty to use a product according to its specifications and that the product not be misused, or used without first being attentive to product specifications or instructions. Additionally, the consuming public is required to have appropriate skill and training before using a particular product. In any analysis, should the consumer, developer, manufacturer, distributor or vendor fail to uphold its duty, appropriate legal consequences will ensue.