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What do you need to prove in a product liability case?

When people are harmed through the use of a defective product, they may choose to sue the manufacturers, suppliers and distributors responsible for bringing those dangerous items to market. If such a claim is brought in Tennessee, plaintiffs (the injured parties) must prove that the products were defective and that the defendants were responsible for them.

The Legal Information Institute explains that product liability is generally treated as a strict liability offense. This means that plaintiffs do not usually need to provide proof regarding defendants’ intentions, as the products’ defects speak for themselves. If a defect exists, one or more business entities can be held accountable for the injuries it caused. The strict liability standard is used in these cases because of the inherent dangers that consumers are exposed to when defective products are put on the market.

In addition to showing that a defect exists, plaintiffs must also identify the manufacturers, suppliers and/or distributors that were ultimately responsible for creating dangerous products and allowing consumers to access them. Linking defendants to defects is vital to a successful product liability claim.

FindLaw notes that defendants may try to shift the responsibility for injuries onto plaintiffs. For example, defendants may claim that the product was changed by the plaintiff, and that it was in fact this alteration that caused an injury. In such situations, plaintiffs may need to show that they used the products as they were intended, or that their alterations were reasonably foreseeable by the defendants.

The information provided is for general purposes only, and should not be considered legal advice.

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