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What is the rule for product liability?

While liability in product liability cases often extends to various parties in the product supply chain, there are certain situations where an entity might not be held liable.


Some common scenarios include:

  1. Innocent Sellers:

    • Some jurisdictions provide protection to innocent sellers who are not aware of a product defect. If a retailer or seller can demonstrate they were unaware of the defect and did not have reason to be aware, they may be exempt from liability.
  2. Secondary Sellers:

    • Entities that are secondary sellers, such as resellers or used goods sellers, might not be held liable if they did not contribute to the product defect and were not in a position to discover the defect.
  3. Contributory Negligence by the Plaintiff:

    • If the plaintiff’s own actions or negligence significantly contributed to the injuries, some jurisdictions may limit or eliminate the defendant’s liability through principles of contributory negligence.
  4. Assumption of Risk:

    • If the injured party was aware of the product’s risks and voluntarily assumed those risks, they might be precluded from holding certain parties liable based on the assumption of risk doctrine.
  5. Product Alteration or Modification by User:

    • If the user or a third party alters or modifies the product after it leaves the control of the defendant, and this alteration leads to the defect or hazard, the original manufacturer might not be held liable.
  6. Compliance with Government Standards:

    • Entities that can demonstrate compliance with applicable government safety standards and regulations may have a defense against certain product liability claims.

It’s important to note that the specifics of liability exemptions can vary based on jurisdiction and the legal theories applied in each case. Additionally, even if a party is not held directly liable, they might still be involved in the legal proceedings as a witness or through contractual obligations. Consulting with legal professionals is crucial to understanding the specific liability landscape in a given situation.

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