You expect a product you see for sale online or on a store shelf to be safe for use. Faulty products can injure people and damage property, causing considerable losses for consumers.

Manufacturers, distributors, and retailers are responsible for ensuring that the products they profit from do not harm the people who buy and use them. When a defective consumer good enters the marketplace and causes a user an injury, the injured party might be able to bring a claim for damages.

If you have suffered an injury because of a product defect or malfunction, a Maryland Heights defective product lawyer could help you assemble the evidence you need to pursue a claim. A hardworking attorney could guide you toward a favorable outcome to your case.

Strict Liability Applies to Defective Product Claims

Missouri Revised Statutes §537.760 assigns strict liability to anyone with a role in bringing a defective product into the stream of commerce. Under this theory, a claimant just needs to prove the product was defective and caused harm, not that the manufacturer was negligent. There are typically three types of product liability claims that can be brought against manufacturers.

Design Defect

If a product is always unreasonably dangerous when used as expected, an injured person could allege a design defect. The plaintiff must show that the product poses an unreasonable risk to the user, but the plaintiff need not show that the designer, manufacturer, or anyone else in the supply chain was careless or reckless in adopting the design.

Manufacturing Defect

If a product is generally safe, but a specific example of the product was unsafe, a plaintiff might allege a manufacturing defect. The plaintiff must demonstrate that something went wrong during production that caused a particular batch or production run to be hazardous. A plaintiff must show how the specific product differs from a typical run of the product and prove that the difference led to the accident that caused the injury.

Labeling Defect

Products do not need to be completely safe when used in a way that could be reasonably anticipated. However, manufacturers must warn a consumer about hazards and provide instructions for safe usage. If a manufacturer sells a product with known dangers associated with its use and fails to provide an adequate warning label, the manufacturer could be liable for damages.

Even though plaintiffs do not need to prove negligence when pursuing a strict liability defective product claim, they must show evidence of the defect in design, manufacture, or labeling. Gathering this evidence can be a significant challenge that requires expert opinion and testimony. A seasoned attorney could identify the appropriate experts in the area to help a plaintiff present a strong product liability case.

Could a Negligent Consumer Recover Damages?

Sometimes a plaintiff will be unreasonably careless when they use a product, and this negligence contributes to the situation that led to the injury. Missouri allows a negligent plaintiff to collect damages, but the amount is adjusted to reflect their degree of responsibility for their harm.

In a products liability case, a manufacturer could demonstrate a plaintiff’s negligence by proving that the plaintiff:

  • Used the product in a way or for a purpose that the manufacturer could not have anticipated
  • Knew the product was dangerous and used it anyway, assuming the risk of being injured
  • Failed to take the precautions a reasonably prudent person would have taken to protect themselves from injury

A defendant in a defective product case might assert one of these claims in an attempt to assign some blame for the accident to the plaintiff, and thereby reduce the exposure of the defendant. An experienced local lawyer could present evidence showing that the plaintiff behaved reasonably under the circumstances and should not carry a significant percentage of the blame for an accident caused by a faulty product.

Learn More from a Maryland Heights Defective Products Attorney

Manufacturers and other corporations use aggressive legal teams to defend them against product liability lawsuits. For this reason, it is generally in your best interest to seek legal representation from a seasoned attorney.

A determined Maryland Heights defective product lawyer could represent your interests during settlement negotiations or in court. If a faulty product has injured you, schedule a consultation with our team today.