Do I have to prove negligence in a product liability claim?

When a Pennsylvania resident goes to the store and buys a new item off the shelf, he or she expects that the item will work as it should, and that it will not pose any unexpected hazards. However, as readers of this personal injury legal blog know, not every consumer good put out into the stream of commerce is safe. In fact, some consumer products are simply dangerous, and when individuals are harmed by them those victims can turn to product liability law to provide them with a legal basis on which to pursue their losses.

Although product liability cases often arise due to the presence of negligence in the design, manufacturing, and distributing processes, it can be next to impossible for victims to figure out exactly when or where the negligence occurred. The burden that would befall a product liability victim who had to investigate a complex manufacturing system or interpret standards of design for intricate goods may make prevailing on such claims impossible. As such, in product liability cases the strict liability standard generally applies.

Strict liability may be broken down into three premises. First, the product that caused the victim to suffer their injury must have been unreasonably dangerous. Second, the victim's injury from the dangerous product occurred during their normal use of the product, meaning that the victim was not using the product for an unintended purpose or in an unexpected way. Finally, the product that caused the victim to suffer injury generally must not have been modified or altered when the incident occurred.

If a victim prevails on a product liability claim, he or she may be able to collect some of the losses incurred when harmed by the unreasonably dangerous item. Meeting the terms of a strict liability product liability claim may help victims pave the way toward getting their lives back on track.

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