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Cok Kinzler PLLP

Explaining the concept of privity of contract

The general assumption amongst most in Bozeman may be that if a company makes a product that, further down the line of the product's life cycle, injures someone, then the manufacturer is ultimately responsible. That is what many of those who come to us here ay Cok Kinzler PLLP believe. If you or a family member have been injured due to a product defect, then you will likely want to know how far manufacturer liability goes in compensating cases such as yours.

Often, manufacturers cite the legal concept of "privity on contract" when defending themselves in product liability cases. According to the International Risk Management Institute, this philosophy states that a contract cannot impose duties on a non-contracted party. Likewise, a non-contracted party cannot claim a duty or benefit promised in a contract. Following this line of thinking, you would have to be the purchaser of a product in order to hold the manufacturer liable for any defects.

Imagine, however, if your neighbor buys a new grill, and invites you and your family over for a barbeque. What if the connection to propane tank on the grill fails, a fire results, and you sustain burn injuries? Product liability allows the privity of contract concept to be overruled in this case because you were a foreseeable user of the product. If your child was also injured in the aforementioned accident, his or her injuries may also be covered because the incident occurred within the scope of use of the product.

More information on assigning liability for product defects can be found here on our site.

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