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Misuse as a product liability defense

On Behalf of | Jan 18, 2024 | Product Liability

As a manufacturer of products, you take quality and safety very seriously. You aim to deliver high-quality goods priced at a competitive rate.

If you produce goods, particularly at high volumes, then you may face product liability claims for injuries allegedly caused by defects in your products. Nonetheless, these claims may lack factual or legal standing.

How does misuse factor into product liability claims?

Misuse of the product

Your products are designed for very specific purposes. They shouldn’t be used outside of this scope, and you have adequately addressed this by providing clear instructions and warning labels.

If the plaintiff in a product liability claim used the product in a manner that you could not have foreseen, then it may be hard for them to claim that you were responsible for their injuries. For example, if you produce folding chairs and the plaintiff used them to stand on while fitting a shelf, then it would be difficult to show that you are liable for the injuries they suffered when falling.

The same applies if the plaintiff has made significant modifications to the product. For instance, if you produce power tools and the plaintiff removed all safety guards and fitted a more powerful battery from another manufacturer. In this case, the original specifications of your product have been altered so much that it is arguably no longer your product.

In product liability claims, the plaintiff must typically show that you were negligent. If an accident resulted from plaintiff negligence, such as misuse, you may be able to use this as a defense. Seek legal guidance to find out more about your potential defense options.