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Assigning responsibility in products liability claims

As previously noted on this blog, consumers can encounter dangerous products. While many of these items are considered relatively safe to begin with, if a manufacturing error or mistake is made, a harmless product could be the cause of a serious consumer injury. Because of this, when individuals in Montana are harmed by a defective product, it is important to understand what happened and who is to blame.

When a products liability issue occurs, understanding its cause is also about understanding who is responsible. Depending on the product and the malfunction that caused the product to become dangerous, this could help explain who is responsible for the injuries and damages suffered by the injured consumer.

Assigning responsibility could mean placing liability on one or more parties and requires looking at the product's chain of distribution. This often means considering the manufacturer of the product, the manufacturers of the component parts, the party that assembles or installs the parts or product, the wholesaler and the retail store that sold the product.

Strict liability could apply, but can only occur when the sale of the product was makes in the regular course of the supplier's business. This means, for example, an individual who sold the product at a garage sale would most likely not be liable for the injuries caused by the product.

Gaining a better understanding of how a defective product injured a consumer can better answer the question of responsibility. Those harmed by a dangerous or defective product should take the time to better understand his or her situation. This could provide them with full awareness of their options, allowing the person to make an informed decision.

Source: Findlaw, "What is Product Liability?," accessed Sept. 14, 2015

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