product liability law

product liability

The responsibility of manufacturers, distributors, and sellers of products to the public, to deliver products free of defects that harm someone and to make good on that responsibility if the products are defective. Defective products might include faulty auto brakes, contaminated baby food, exploding bottles of beer, flammable children's pajamas, or products that lack proper label warnings. A key feature of product liability law is that a person who suffers harm need not prove negligence, because the negligence is presumed and the result is strict liability (absolute responsibility) on the seller, distributor, and manufacturer.

Frolic and Detour

Employee conduct that is outside the scope of employment and is undertaken purely for the employee's own benefit. Although an employer is generally liable for the acts of its employees, an employer is not liable for damages employees cause while on a frolic and detour. For example, a delivery company could be liable for injuries one of its drivers causes while racing to make a delivery; it probably would not be liable if the same driver shot a guard while robbing a bank on his lunch hour.

Foreseeable Risk

A likelihood of injury or damage that a reasonable person should be able to anticipate in a given set of circumstances. Foreseeable risk is a common affirmative defense put up by defendants in lawsuits for negligence, essentially claiming that the plaintiff should have thought twice before taking a risky action. Signs that warn "use at your own risk" do not bar lawsuits over injuries or damages from risks that weren't foreseeable.

Exculpatory Clause

A provision in a lease that absolves the landlord in advance from responsibility for all damages, injuries, or losses occurring on the property, including those caused by the landlord's actions. Most states have laws that void exculpatory clauses in rental agreements, which means that a court will not enforce them.

Disclaim

1) To refuse or give away a claim or a right to something. For example, if your aunt leaves you a white elephant in her will and you don't want it, you can refuse the gift by disclaiming your ownership rights. 2) To deny responsibility for a claim or act. For example, a merchant that sells goods secondhand may disclaim responsibility for a products defects by selling it as is.

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