Does Arkansas Have Strict Liability In Product Liability Cases?

When we take a new product home from the store, we expect them to work and function properly. We trust the manufacturers have taken all the necessary precautions to ensure their products are safe to use and/or consume. Unfortunately, some manufacturers rush their products to market without proper testing. In some other cases, manufacturers fail to warn of the dangers associated with their product. The negligent conduct of manufacturers often times result in severe and sometimes fatal injuries caused by defective products. If you or a loved one have suffered an injury from a defective product you should contact a Fayetteville product liability lawyer like Ken Kieklak who can make sure your rights are properly defended.

What is Product Liability?

When a person sustains an injury from a defective product, such as a defective appliance, furniture, or toys, the manufacturer, the distributor and the seller may be liable for your injuries. Product liability refers to responsibility for a product’s safety from the moment of production and manufacturing to the moment the product is placed within the consumer’s reach. This essentially means that if a person sustains an injury from a defective product, he or she can file a lawsuit against all the chain of people associated with the product. Therefore, in a product liability lawsuit, the plaintiff can sue the seller, the distributor, and the manufacturer for injuries their product caused.  This can happen with defective consumer products, defective medical devices, or even dangerous and defective drugs.

If you were injured by a defective medical device, the manufacturer or hospital may be liable. Contact our Fayetteville defective medical device injury lawyers today.

What is a Product Liability Action?

According to AR Code § 16-116-202, a product liability action “includes all actions brought for or on account of personal injury, death, or property damage caused by or resulting from the manufacture, construction, design, formula, preparation, assembly, testing, service, warning, instruction, marketing, packaging, or labeling of any product.”

What is Strict Liability?

Strict liability is a legal standard that can be found in both civil and criminal cases. It refers to the direct responsibility (or “liability”) of a party without the presence of fault. In civil (or “tort”) cases, the plaintiff only needs to prove that he or she suffered damages and the defendant is responsible. This removes any requirement to prove what exactly the defendant did wrong; the defendant is responsible nonetheless. That being said, strict liability is not automatically or randomly imposed. The law contemplates strict liability only in inherently dangerous situations, not in cases where wrongdoing exists.

Some examples of inherently dangerous situations include:

  • Use of explosives (construction, among others)
  • Storage of dangerous chemicals
  • Use of chemicals (herbicides, among others)
  • Storage of flammable products
  • Certain product defects
  • Medical devices that can lead to infections or other issues (like the Bair Hugger warming blanket)

Strict Liability for product defects can be based on several situations. These situations are:

  1. A defect in design: In this type of cases the product shows a defect in the product’s design which turns it into an inherently dangerous product. This applies to all products that share the same design (e.g. the entire line of products).
  2. A defect in manufacturing: In this case, the manufacturing process strays from the manufacturer’s original design, causing dangerous problems. This includes things like missing screws, sharp corners or edges, or materials that were substituted at the factory.
  3. Advertising or marketing defects: This type of defect refers to the failure to properly advertise or otherwise warn about the proper use, handling, and possible dangers associated with the use of a product. Advertising defects include proper warnings, instructions, and proper warning placement.

How Much Time do I Have to File a Strict Liability Lawsuit?

A person who has sustained an injury due to a defective product has a time limit in which he or she can file a lawsuit against the responsible parties. According to AR Code § 16-116-203, “All product liability actions shall be commenced within three (3) years after the date on which the death, injury, or damage complained of occurs.”

This is what is known as a “statute of limitations.” The statute of limitations is the amount of time provided by law to exercise your right to file a lawsuit. If this time expires and you do not file your claim in a timely manner, the court will not take your case and you will be left without recourse.

These deadlines apply regardless of how severe the case is. This means that for even severe accidental injuries like severe burn injuries or wrongful death, you must still meet the deadlines. Talk to an attorney early to help ensure your case is filed on time.

Dangerous and Defective Product Lawyer Serving Fayetteville, Arkansas

Nobody should go through the terrible experience of falling victim of a defective product, especially when such defects can cause severe and sometimes fatal injuries. However, many people do, and it is important that if you or a loved one has been the victim of a defective product you turn to a knowledgeable and experienced product liability lawyer who can fiercely fight for your rights as a consumer. Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law can help you with your product liability case from start to finish. To schedule a free and confidential consultation with our Fayetteville AR personal injury lawyer, call our law offices today at (479) 316-0438.