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August 31 - Newsblog #1
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Homeowner and Wife Sue over Police Shooting
September 7 - Newsblog #2
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Homeowner’s Possession of Handgun Legal Under 2nd Amendment
September 14 - Newsblog #3
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: if a Government or Government Agency is at Fault, You Can Sue
September 21 - Newsblog #4
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Lawsuit Against Police Department Invokes the Civil Rights Act
September 28 - Newsblog #5
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: a Clear Line from the Action – or Inaction – to the Injury
October 12 - Newsblog #6
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Police Insensitivity Turns Traffic Stop into a Travesty
October 19 - Newsblog #7
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Police Who Abuse Power Must Be Held Accountable, Law Professor States
October 26 - Newsblog #8
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Holding Overly Aggressive Police Accountable
November 2 - Newsblog #9
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Brown Vs. Impd Case About Much More Than Punishment or Money
November 9 - Newsblog #10
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Improper Medical Diagnosis and Care Resulted in Loss of an Eye
November 16 - Newsblog #11
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Medical Malpractice Claims Have a Front End and a Back End
November 30 - Newsblog #12
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Truths About Medical Malpractice
December 7 - Newsblog #13
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Yes, You Can Sue City Hall
December 14 - Newsblog #14
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Slip and Fall Changes Two Lives Forever
December 28 - Newsblog #15
In the News: Ramey & Hailey Year in Review
January 4 - Newsblog #16
In the News: Teen’s Sexual Abuse Case Calls Attention to the Problem
January 11 - Newsblog #17
In the News: Parents of Survivor Sue Parents of Shooter
January 18 - Newsblog #18
In the News: Erin Brockovich Teams Up with Indiana Moms
January 25 - Newsblog #19
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Case Settled in Favor of Catastrophic Slip and Fall Injury Victim
January 31 - Newsblog #20
In the News: Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed Against Rehab Facility
February 8 - Newsblog #21
In the News: Nurse Arrested in Sexual Abuse Case
February 15 - Newsblog #22
In the News: Running the Clock on Indiana Medical Malpractice
February 22 - Newsblog #23
In the News: to Repeal or Not to Repeal – Indiana Legislators Rule “not”
March 1 - Newsblog #24
In the News: Helping Physicians Keep Helping
March 8 - Newsblog #25
In the News: Parents of Brain-damaged Infant Sue Hospital
March 15 - Newsblog #26
In the News: Owner of Gun Wins Decision
March 22 - Newsblog #27
In the News: Indiana House Passes Long Term Care Protections Bill
April 5 - Newsblog #28
In the News: Slip-and-fall Victim Wins Right to Sue Dollar Tree
April 12 - Newsblog #29
In the News: Inspection Report Shows Vets Harmed at 52 Nursing Homes
April 19 - Newsblog #30
In the News: Sandwich Diversion Causes Fatal Two-semitrailer Crash
April 26 - Newsblog #31
In the News: Does Premises Liability Cover Goose Attacks?
May 10 - Newsblog #32
Two-week-old N.y. Verdict Offers Takeaways for Slip and Fall Victims
May 17 - Newsblog #33
In the News: Barrel Blast Triggers Wrongful Death Lawsuit
May 24 - Newsblog #34
In the News: when a Product Manufacturer is Not at Fault
May 31 - Newsblog #35
In the News – College Doc’s Sexual Abuse of Students Coming to Light
June 7 - Newsblog #36
In the News – One Week, Four Motorcycle Accidents
June 14 - Newsblog #37
List of Troubled Nursing Homes Released
June 21 - Newsblog #38
In the News: Kansas No-caps Ruling Changes Personal Injury Climate
June 28 - Newsblog #39
In the News: Jury Awards $10.5 Million for Pain and Suffering in Birth Injury Case
July 5 - Newsblog #40
In the News: More Indicted in Last Year’s Duck Boat Tragedy
July 17 - Newsblog #41
In the News: Richard Hailey on Litigation Team for Lawsuit Vs. Tesla
July 24 - Newsblog #42
In the News: Malpractice Lawsuit Yields Largest Award in History
August 28 - Newsblog #43
In the News: Trucks V. Passenger Cars – Score 18:116. Everybody Loses
December 4 - Newsblog #44
In the News: High School Chaplain Suspended on Allegations of Sexual Abuse
December 11 - Newsblog #45
In the News: Franklin, Indiana Continues to Face Toxic Waste Problem
December 11 - Newsblog #46
In the News: Franklin, Indiana Continues to Face Toxic Waste Problem
December 18 - Newsblog #47
In the News: Parents of Bus Accident Victim Awarded $20 Million
January 8 - Newsblog #48
In the News: Parents Sue After Daughter’s Brain Damaged in Surgery
January 10 - Newsblog #49
In the News: Trucking Accidents Due to Careless Driving Increase
January 29 - Newsblog #50
In the News: Trucking Accidents Due to Careless Driving Increase
February 19 - Newsblog #51
Indiana Authorities Buy More Time to Prosecute Child Abusers
March 4 - Newsblog #52
In the News: Did Connecticut School Officials Turn a Deaf Ear to Sexual or Physical Abuse?
March 11 - Newsblog #53
In the News: Facility Held to Blame for Medical Treatment Delivered in a Careless and Negligent Manner
April 1 - Newsblog #54
In the News: Emergency Measures Instituted in Indiana’s Judicial System

Products Liability Newsletter

Redress for Injuries Caused by Defective Products

Product or products liability is the area of personal injury law concerning liability for injuries caused by “defective” products. “Defective” products include products that are “unreasonably dangerous” for their intended uses.

The Principles and Reach of Product Liability Laws

Many of the general principles of law followed by U.S. courts come from English “common law,” which is largely a distillation of principles applied by courts in actual cases. At common law, however, the sale of a product was deemed a commercial transaction, and only the parties to the transaction could sue for product defect injuries.

The unfairness of barring recovery of victims from those responsible for injuries lead U.S. states to enact product liability laws; there is no comparable federal product liability law. There are however, considerable differences in principles and procedures among the various states.

Liability generally extends to persons and entities throughout the “chain” of manufacture and distribution, including manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors, retailers, inspectors, testing labs, and suppliers of component parts; those who actually caused the defect become liable. Persons who may make claims or file suit include not only the purchasers of the product, but also anyone who was loaned or given the product, and sometimes those who were “foreseeably” injured.

Included Products and Types of Defects

The term “products” has also been extended beyond tangible retail products to intangible ones, including real estate, live “products” (such as pets), and writings, under certain circumstances. Most state laws allow for suit based on varying theories regarding a product defect, including:

  • Design Defects,” when the product is manufactured exactly as intended, but the product itself is deemed unreasonably dangerous when used as intended or in a foreseeable manner, e.g., the automobiles that burst into flames when rear-ended.
  • Manufacturing Defects,” when a particular version of a product is defective and does not conform to the manufacturer’s design due to some error in the manufacturing process, such as a bottle for soda pop that unexpectedly explodes, or a knife with a handle that falls off.
  • Marketing Defects,” such as missing or inadequate warnings and/or instructions, which may prevent the consumer from knowing how to safely use the product.

Just because a product is dangerous, however, does not necessarily mean it is “defective.” When evaluating defects, courts generally do a balancing test of whether any danger is outweighed by the utility of the product and lack of safer alternatives. For example, gasoline is “dangerous,” but is not considered “defective,” because its utility outweighs the danger and the lack of a substitute.


Negligence is one of three theories upon which many rely in pursuing a claim for product liability. What must be shown to succeed on a claim for negligence varies among the states, but may include:

  • That the defendant(s) had a duty to exercise reasonable care in manufacturing and/or selling the product so the product would not cause injury;
  • That duty was breached, i.e., the defendant(s) failed in designing, manufacturing, and/or marketing the product, resulting in the unreasonably dangerous, defective product; and
  • As a direct and proximate cause of the defect/breach of duty, the claimant was injured.

Breach of Warranty

A claim for breach of warranty may be based upon a written warranty, thereby making the claim essentially a breach of contract claim, where the product did not conform to the warranty representations and the injury resulted from this failure to conform. There is, however, also a warranty implied by law in every product that the product is safe for its intended use. A product used in the way intended, causing injury, is unsafe for its intended uses, and therefore constitutes a breach of the implied warranty.

Strict Liability

Of the three theories discussed herein, strict liability is the most recently recognized theory of liability. The concept arose from a 1963 California case, where the claimant was unable to prove negligence, and lacked the contractual relationship with the seller then necessary for a breach of warranty claim. The existence and requirements for this and the other theories depend on local state law.

For a strict liability claim, the claimant must usually still show that the product was unreasonably dangerous for its intended use. The claimant must also usually show that there was a sale and that the defect existed at the time the product left the control of the defendant against whom liability is sought, and that the defect resulted in the injury.

This theory is similar to negligence, but once the unreasonably dangerous defect is established, liability may be automatic, regardless of what the defendants might have known at the time the product was made, have done to fulfill their duties, or how much care was taken in the design, manufacture and marketing of the product. Furthermore, actions by the claimant that may have contributed to the injury are not a defense, as they are under a negligence theory.


Many commentators feel product liability suits are the only effective way to force manufacturers to make safe products. In most jurisdictions, the injured party is entitled to recover all amounts lost due to the injury, such as medical costs and lost wages, and also for pain and suffering.

Depending on the state, a claimant may also be entitled to an award of punitive damages, to punish the wrongdoer and discourage such conduct in the future, where the actions of the defendant were particularly reprehensible. For example, heavy punitive damages were awarded in the case where a car had a tendency to explode when hit from behind. Evidence showed that the manufacturer knew of the problem, but made an economic decision that it would be more cost effective to defend suits by victims rather than fix the problem.

  • What Constitutes a "Class" for Litigation Purposes
    A class action suit is a claim brought by one or more individuals on behalf of themselves and others with similar claims. There are several types of cases appropriate for a class action lawsuit including: A mass accident... Read more.
  • Understanding Design Defects
    “Product liability” is the area of the law enabling recovery for those injured by defective products. Some commentators suggest it reflects a balance between the benefits that society as a whole reaps from technological... Read more.
  • Crashworthiness of Cars and Product Liability
    The principles of product liability provide consumers with some protection against injury from defective products and a means of recovering damages for injuries resulting from the use of defective products. The protection is in general... Read more.
  • Amalgams - Does the Mercury in Dental Fillings Cause Harm?
    Amalgams are a type of dental tooth filling which, unlike gold or porcelain fillings, contain mercury. In the past several years, the American Dental Association (ADA) and several state dental chapters have come under the attack of... Read more.
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