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Strict Product Liability versus Negligence

Colburn Law

Injuries and illnesses befall Washington residents every single year. Some people suffer these effects due to the actions of another person or even a business, such as a manufacturer, retail store, or distribution company. 

In these situations, victims have the right to pursue claims against the parties responsible for their injuries. However, different types of lawsuits rely on different legal theories. While claims involving personal injuries rely on the presence of negligence, product liability lawsuits are based on strict liability.

What Are Negligence-Based Claims?

Negligence refers to a failure to uphold a certain duty of care that another, reasonably prudent person would have upheld under the same circumstances. If a person or company acts negligently and harms someone, the at-fault party may be liable for the victim’s injuries.

People who have been harmed by someone else’s negligence have the right to file lawsuits against the at-fault party. The following are common examples of negligence-based claims in Washington. 

  • A motor vehicle driver runs a red light, breaching her duty to follow state traffic laws. She collides with a pedestrian, who then has the right to file an insurance claim or lawsuit against her.
  • A grocery store owner fails to train employees on how to warn customers of spills. A broken bottle of olive oil remains in a grocery store aisle for several hours until an unsuspecting customer slips and falls. The victim could pursue a lawsuit against the store owner.
  • A doctor prescribes the wrong medication to a patient, triggering a severe and dangerous drug reaction. The patient can then file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the doctor for his or her negligence.

Strict Product Liability versus Negligence

What Is Strict Product Liability?

Like personal injury lawsuits and other negligence-based claims, product liability lawsuits provide a way for victims to recover compensation following an injury. Unlike negligence-based claims, however, defective product claims fall under the umbrella of strict liability.

To prove a product liability lawsuit, you do not need to prove that the manufacturer’s wrongdoing or negligence caused your injuries or losses. Instead, you will simply need to prove that the product was defective and responsible for your injuries.

Specifically, you and your lawyer will need to gather sufficient evidence to prove four key facts.

  • You suffered injuries or losses.
  • The product is defective in its design, manufacturing, or warnings and instructions.
  • The product’s defect caused your injuries or losses.
  • You were using the product as the manufacturer intended.

You can leverage multiple pieces of evidence to prove a product liability claim, including scientific evidence, testimony from expert witnesses, medical records, the product itself, and any photographs and videos you may have. 

Filing a Product Liability Lawsuit in Washington

If you were injured by a defective product, you deserve justice. By filing a product liability lawsuit, you can hold the manufacturer accountable for your injuries, regardless of negligence. You can also recover compensation for any economic and non-economic losses that you experience due to the defective product, such as the following.

  • Medical expenses for past and future treatment
  • Lost wages and loss of future earnings
  • Property damage sustained in the accident
  • Chronic pain
  • Permanent disability
  • Mental anguish
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Depression and anxiety

In these situations, you need an attorney on your side who can help you secure the settlement that you deserve. A Washington product liability attorney can gather the evidence you need to prove strict liability and craft a compelling case in your favor. As soon as possible following your accident, speak to a lawyer to discuss your next steps.