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What Is Strict Product Liability?



The relationship between strict liability and product liability is a unique one, worthy of close examination and review. The two legal concepts combine to form the merged principle of strict product liability. Product liability law concerns the duties of manufacturers and sellers of products or goods to pay compensation to parties injured as a result of defective goods that were sold. Strict liability involves absolute responsibility on a legal level for injuries attributed to the culpable party or wrongdoer. This legal liability is affixed to the culpable party without requirement of any showing of proof of wrong, fault, negligence, recklessness, or carelessness by the injured party.

What Are the Core Elements of Product Liability?

There are four main elements to the concept of product liability. First, a defendant has a legal duty to conduct himself in the manner of a reasonably prudent person under certain similar or identical circumstances. Second, there must have been a breach of owed duty, which is a failure of the alleged culpable party to act in a reasonable manner. The third element is an injury that results from that breached duty. That injury can be in the nature of a personal one or it can be harm or damage caused to personal or real property. Fourth, there must be a causal connection between breached duty and injuries suffered by the plaintiff party.

What Are the Core Elements of Strict Liability?

Unlike product liability causes of action, the concept of strict liability necessitates only that a plaintiff party show a particular product caused an injury to him or her as a result of a product defect. The reason behind the product's defect is immaterial to the analysis and prima facie case. Under this principle, the product's maker is held legally responsible for allowing the product in a dangerous or defective condition to enter the market. Public policy and consumer protection legislation are motivators behind the concept of strict liability, instead of any sort of punitive goal to deter unreasonable or negligent acts on the part of product manufacturers.

What Does the Combination of Strict Liability and Product Liability Look Like?

Strict product liability is the combined legal concept that results from the marriage of strict liability and product liability. The principle of strict product liability attaches to any party who is involved in placing products in the stream of commerce, whether a manufacturer, wholesaler, distributor, or retailer. Each and/or all of these supply chain parties can be held liable if a product is defective or dangerous in condition and injures a third party or user.