Research Paper on Politics of Products Liability

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The term product liability is used to describe a situation where a manufacturer or a seller, is held accountable for offering a defective good to a customer. The seller of a faulty product is always held accountable for all injuries that the product may cause to a user. In the US, most of the claims associated with product liability are those linked with negligence, breach of warranty, and strict liabilities.

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Product Liability in the United States

In the United States, most product liability laws are created at the state level. The laws vary widely between different states. Every form of product liability claim requires different elements to be proved so as to present a successful claim. Numerous states have developed comprehensive statutes covering products liability. The statutory provisions of such statutes are extremely diverse in such a way that the government has promulgated an Act for voluntary use by the States. The Act is referred to as the Model Uniform Products Liability Act (MULPA). At the moment, there are no federal products liability laws in the United States.

Politics of Product Liability Analysis

3 Forms of Defects

There are three forms of defects that consumers must prove to exist during a products liability case. The defects include manufacturing defects, design defects, and warning defects (Strongman, 2010). In a case, the consumer is mandated to prove that a defect existed in the manufacturing process that made the products unsafe for use. Design defects characterize all products, both goods, and services, that are inadequately planned and so unreasonably hazardous to users (Strongman, 2010). A product liability claim based on warning defects arises when the claimant proves that the manufacturer did not put any label or offer instructions on using a hazardous product. Such a defect must have been discovered after the product was sold.

Available Defenses

There are various defenses that are available in product liability claims. Such defenses vary widely from state to state. In the statutes of limitation, a claimant must file a lawsuit within a given statutory duration of time. This is after suffering an injury due to a faulty product. Depending on the product, the statutory period can be between one to six years. Statutes of repose are not reliant on the period when a claimant is injured. Instead, a claimant must present his/her claim within a specified duration after the product is sold. Such statutes are not subjective to the discovery rule.

The learned intermediary doctrine is another defense that can be used during a product liability case. It is mostly used in the prescription drugs context. A manufacturer discharges all the responsibilities of drugs used to the prescribing physician. This means that the manufacturer has no responsibility for warning the users directly. Other minor defense claims can be based on the intervening or superseding cause, contributory negligence or comparative fault, assumption of the risk, and state of the art (Kaplan and Strongman, 2010).

Critique of Products of Liability

Despite the protection and merits that the products of liability offered to the public, it is also subjectable to a critic. One such criticism arises because both the purchasers and consumers of a product cannot sue a manufacturer of a seller for strict liability tort. This is in the case where the inherent danger that a product, like a gun or a knife, holds is general knowledge. In this case, manufacturers cannot be held responsible for a failure to warn consumers of the ordinary known dangers. In addition, they cannot be held responsible for scenarios where a consumer has modified a product and, in turn, caused an injury.


In the politics of product liability, a seller or manufacturer must be held accountable for any damages caused by the sale of a faulty product to a consumer. Different states have different product liability statutes. There are no federal statutes in the US governing product liability. The three forms of product defects in product liability claims include manufacturing defects, design defects, and warning defects. The available defenses in such cases can be based on statutes of limitation, statutes of repose, learned intermediary doctrine, intervening or superseding cause, contributory negligence or comparative fault, the assumption of the risk, and state of the art.


Strongman, H. K. (2010, January 05). United States: Developments In US Product Liability Law And The Issues Relevant To Foreign Manufacturers. Retrieved December 2015, from Mondaq: Connecting Knowledge and People

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