Welcome to Lawshelf’s video course on product liability. Product liability is a division of torts and personal injury law that is often the subject of class action lawsuits and routinely generates large monetary verdicts. Product liability cases are also all over the news, from tires that blow out to prescription drugs with harmful side effects to overly hot coffee served at McDonalds, product liability actions make interesting and compelling news stories.
This is an introductory level course and no previous knowledge of tort law is required, though familiarity with some basic legal terms like negligence, assumption of risk and warranty is helpful.
There are four bases of liability for defective products:
A manufacturing defect means that a mistake was made in production. The manufacturer forgot to put brake fluid in the car or the restaurant served spoiled food. We will spend a module on the standards to which manufacturers are held to ensure that their products are safe.
Another basis for liability is defective design. The product may have been produced as intended, but the design itself may be unreasonably dangerous. We’ll focus a module on this ground for liability as well. We’ll also focus on the important exception of inherently unsafe products such as guns and cigarettes.
Another module will focus on failure to warn. A product may be unavoidably unsafe even when designed and manufactured perfectly. In such case, the manufacturer and seller are still expected to provide the proper information to the consumer to give the consumer proper warning as to the danger. Warnings on everything from hot coffee to prescription drugs to swimming pools are products of this theory of liability.
The fourth basis for liability is breach of warranty. If the manufacturer or seller makes a promise (express or implied) as to how a product will perform and the product falls short, causing an injury, the manufacturer can be liable even without any defect in the product or process.
Finally, we will spend the last module on defenses common to actions for product liability. After this course, the viewer will be able to determine the grounds for liability for products that cause injuries on given fact patterns. You will also be able to apply the standards and defenses common to product liability actions.
Best of luck and we welcome your feedback.