The Negligence Standard

Unlike a strict liability standard, a negligence theory under products liability law investigates the acts, actions, omissions, or conduct of a party.To recover under a negligence standard, the injured consumer must show that the manufacturer, seller, or distributor failed to act reasonably in the manufacture, design, testing, distribution, labeling, or assembly of the product and that the failure to act reasonably was the cause of the damage done.

The salient question under a negligence review involves defining “reasonable conduct.” The reasonableness of an action must be viewed in light of the standards of other similarly situated actors under like circumstances. That is, if the actions of a developer, manufacturer, or vendor are under review, those actions must be viewed in light of other reasonably prudent inventors, manufacturers, or vendors under similar circumstances. Should the actions of the actor fall below the standard of reasonably accepted conduct and cause a consumer’s injury, then the unreasonable actor will be held liable and accountable in a court of law.