Alabama Product Liability and Defective Product Claims

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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Product liability cases often involve a legal theory called strict liability. This means that the plaintiff (the person suing) in the product liability lawsuit doesn’t have to prove that the defendant or defendants (the person(s) or entities being sued) were negligent if the plaintiff can prove that the product was defective or unreasonably dangerous. A product is considered unreasonably dangerous if it fails to perform in a way that could be reasonably expected given the nature and purpose of the product. For example, a pool pump is expected to pump water, not to short and electrocute the person using it or start a fire.

If you have been injured, your Alabama product liability attorney can advise you, but there are three basic ways that a product can be defective or unreasonably dangerous.

Alabama Manufacturing Defect

A manufacturing defect occurs when there is some error or defect in the manufacturing process that produces a defect in the product. That is, that the product that is produced doesn’t conform to the manufacturer’s own design or manufacturing specifications. For example, contamination in a pharmaceutical plant can produce a drug that doesn’t work properly or causes illness. A faulty auto part may eventually cause accidents, and a climbing rope with a weak section can result in a fatal fall.

If such a defect is in the product, the plaintiff doesn’t have to prove that the manufacturer was negligent or knew or should have known about the manufacturing error. This is because it would be difficult, and sometimes impossible, for plaintiffs to prove what went wrong in the manufacturing process that is completely within the control of the defendant or defendants.

Alabama Design Defect

A product might also be defective or unreasonably dangerous because of the design. For example, a piece of woodworking equipment that is designed without a safety guard in a place where a hand can easily be caught would have a defective design. A swimming pool without depth markers and designed in such a way that it’s difficult to see how deep the water is, would probably be a defective design because the pool would create an unreasonable risk of diving injuries to those who dive in shallow water.

A plaintiff will need to show that the defective design was in some way negligent, unless he or she can show that there was a cost-effective alternative design that would have been safe. If a safe alternative exists, strict liability applies and the manufacturer will be liable. In the examples above, the plaintiff could prevail if he or she could prove that it would be very easy and cost-effective for the manufacturer to add a safety guard to a machine or put depth markers on a prefabricated pool.

Alabama Warning and Instruction Defect

This defect is sometimes also called a marketing defect. This involves inaccurate or inadequate labeling, inaccurate or inadequate instructions, or a failure to warn the user about a known danger. The manufacturer, distributor, or retailer is not required to warn of a danger that is obvious. For example, a manufacturer of a soldering iron doesn’t need to warn the users not to touch the iron while it’s hot, but the manufacturer of a product containing silica is required to warn users that inhaling silica can create a lung condition called silicosis. The manufacturer is only required to warn about a danger it knows about, so whether the manufacturer knew of the danger is often an important issue in a product liability case.

Alabama Unavoidably Dangerous Products

When a product is inherently dangerous in order to fulfill the purpose it’s made for, the manufacturer is only required to warn of non-obvious dangers. For example, a soldering iron is inherently dangerous, but needs to be in order to perform the task of soldering. A manufacturer that warns about the dangers of normal use is not liable if a person burns him or herself while using the product.

If you were injured by a product and believe the product was defective, contact an experienced Alabama product liability attorney attorney right away. A qualified product liability lawyer can provide expert advice on your rights and the merits of your case, as well as how much time you have to file your product liability lawsuit.

If you would like to have your case evaluated by an experienced Alabama product liability attorney, fill out our case evaluation form at no cost or obligation.

Check out the following articles for more information about Alabama product liability, filing an Alabama product liability lawsuit and finding an Alabama product liability attorney.

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