Understanding Strict Liability

Product Liability insurance

Negligence vs. defect

Many prospects who contact me have a difficult time grasping the concept of Strict Liability and how it impacts their business and Product Liability Insurance.

First of all, with Strict Liability there is no burden of proof that negligence exists. It only has to be proven that the product was the approximate cause of the bodily injury or property damage and that the product defect was a result of a design defect, manufacturing defect, improper warning or improper instruction.   Secondly, plaintiffs who bring a product liability lawsuit are not required to make a choice between design defect, manufacturing defect or failure to warn defect. They may elect to use all theories to support their case.

Where and why the responsibility lies where it does

Prior to 1963, injured parties bore the burden of proof that negligence existed in order to be compensated for their injuries.  After 1963, due to the Strict Liability doctrine, the costs of injuries shifted to those who market the products – the manufacture, wholesaler, distributor and retailers.

Basically, the logic behind Strict Liability is that the manufacturers, distributors and retailers of a product that causes bodily injury or property damage are more responsible than the consumer that was injured or suffered a loss, and are in a better position financially to accept the burden of making the consumer whole again.

Posted By: