Every year, people across the state of Montana and beyond are subjected to dangerous product designs and malfunctions. Defective products can result in serious and even fatal injuries, and cost accident victims and their families millions of dollars in financial losses. Understanding when and how dangerous products are regarded under the law is a major component of effectively pursuing product liability claims.
According to the Montana Department of Agriculture, there are several circumstances under which state residents can pursue product liability claims. Common product liability claims include but are not limited to complaints over:
- Defective product instructions or warnings
- Production or manufacturing flaws
- Design-related defects
Considering the fundamental components of product liability tort, the National Paralegal College explains that legal guidelines are intended to protect the rights of users, buyers and the bystanders. Product manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers and retailers can be held financially responsible for injuries under four primary product liability theories. Those theories are ordinary negligence, strict liability negligence, intentional tort and breach of warranty.
Negligence is the primary factor in most product liability cases, and often revolves around the liable party or parties failing to recognize foreseeable risks associated with their product. Product designers and suppliers have a duty of care to customers, and can therefore be held accountable for unintentional injuries. Intentional tort is far less common and involves a supplier or manufacturer subjecting users to products that are known to be dangerous or defective. Strict liability is increasingly being applied in all product liability cases, and operates on the assumption that the manufacturer is better equipped than the customer to recognize product defects. Even so, the burden of proof falls on the claimant to illustrate that the product in question was defective or otherwise unsafe.