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6 Common Defenses in a Product Liability Lawsuit

A manufacturer or a seller is liable for any injury caused by the use of a defective product sold to consumers. As per the strict product liability law in Kentucky, the plaintiff does not have to prove negligence. The defendant has to refute arguments made by the plaintiff to relieve liability for injury.

The type of defenses availed by the defendant will depend on the specific facts surrounding the case. Here are some of the common defenses relating to a product liability case.

1. Substantial Alteration

One defense that the defendant can raise is that the product was substantially altered. The defendant can claim that plaintiff made changes in the product. And the changes were a superseding cause of the injury.

Suppose that a user had overclocked a PC processor that exploded caught fire. The user gets injured in the ensuing fire. The defendant can raise the defense that the user made unauthorized modifications.

2. Defendant Not Sufficiently Identified

In a product liability case, the plaintiff must clearly identify the defendant. A defense can be raised if the manufacturer or the supplier is not clearly identified. But there is one exception to this rule called the 'market share liability'.

Market share liability generally applies in defective medications. In case the plaintiff is not able to identify the supplier or manufacturer of a generic drug, each pharmaceutical company will be liable depending on the share of sales in the area where the plaintiff resides.

3. Dangerous Product

A manufacturer or seller will be relieved of a liability if the buyer knew that the product was dangerous. If the public knows about the danger of a product the defendant will not be strictly liable. For instance, everyone knows that an overdose of barbiturates is fatal. Also, there is risk attacked with experimental drugs. In such cases, a defendant will not be liable for any injuries sustained due to the use of the product.

A plaintiff can receive compensation only if the manufacturer or seller had not put an adequate warning. Also, the risk of the use of the dangerous product must have been reasonably known by the defendant. But the defendant will be liable if the risk of the product was later known but no warning was given.

4. Modern Manufacturing Technologies

A defendant will be able to escape liability if it is asserted that modern technologies were used to make the product as safe as possible. In case no other design was available at the time of the manufacture of the product, a manufacturer will not be held responsible for a product defect.

5. Sold in a Sealed Container

Product liability laws preclude any claim against a seller if the product was sold in a sealed container. No product liability will arise if the seller did not have an opportunity to inspect the product.

However, exceptions to this rule apply if the seller had not handled the product properly. For instance, no liability case will arise if the seller did not refrigerate the product as recommended by the manufacturer.

6. Statute of Limitation

The statute of limitation imposes a time limit on the right of the plaintiff to seek compensation. Different states have different statute of limitation. Not filing the case within the time period will give the defendant a chance to raise a defense. Failure to file the case within the statutory time limit will effectively bar the right of the injured party to seek remedy for an injury.

In the state of Kentucky, the KRS 411.310(1) law sets a five year time limit from the date of purchase for filing a product liability case. Also, the statute has set the limit of eight years from the time of manufacture of the product to file a liability claim.

How Are Product Defects Determined?

One of the most difficult question regarding product liability cases is determining product defects. The type of defect and the standard that has been used to determine the defect affects the product liability case.

The three common type of defects regarding product liability case include the following.

· Design defects

· Manufacturing defects

· Lack of adequate warning

Regarding the standard used to determine a defect, a product is considered to be defective in the legal context if it causes injury. If the injury is other than what is reasonably expected from the use of the product, it can give rise to a product liability case.

In addition, the injury caused to the plaintiff must occur as a result of the normal use of a product. The plaintiff cannot recover for physical injuries suffered due to inappropriate use of the product. Both economic and non economic damages can be recovered.


The defendant can use a number of defenses in a product liability case. Common defenses include substantial alteration of the product, the expiry of the statutory of limitation, a visible warning, defendant not specifically identified, sold in a sealed container and made using the most modern technologies.

A lot of different factors affect a product liability case. An experienced personal injury attorney will carry on a thorough investigation regarding the dangerous or defective product. The personal injury lawyer will collect evidence and interview experts. Based on a specific circumstance, the lawyer will also calculate the amount of compensation for the injury.

At Christopher Jackson Law, we have a team of experienced legal specialists who can help you in a product liability case. If you have been injured due to using a defective product, you should contact us to seek compensation from the guilty party.

If you reside in Kentucky, and want consultation regarding your product liability case, you can contact us today. We can help you make a strong case regarding the product liability case.

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