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Common-Law Defenses against Negligence

15 January, 2016 - 09:33

Among the problems confronting a plaintiff with a claim of negligence in products-liability suits (again, these concepts are discussed in the torts chapter) are the following:

  • Proving negligence at all: just because a product is defective does not necessarily prove the manufacturer breached a duty of care.
  • Proximate cause: even if there was some negligence, the plaintiff must prove her damages flowed proximately from that negligence.
  • Contributory and comparative negligence: the plaintiff’s own actions contributed to the damages.
  • Subsequent alteration of the product: generally the manufacturer will not be liable if the product has been changed.
  • Misuse or abuse of the product: using a lawn mower to trim a hedge or taking too much of a drug are examples.
  • Assumption of the risk: knowingly using the product in a risky way.