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How can I prove I have been injured by a defective product?

When a product is sold on the market, there is an assumption that it is safe and fit for ordinary use, which is the use for which it was intended. Other products are unavoidably unsafe, such as an electric knife, which would be useless if it was not sharp and, therefore, is accompanied by warnings about risks associated with the uses of that product. Despite this, thousands of people are injured throughout the year by dangerous or defective products and the question for those who are injured in Indiana may be, who do we hold accountable and how?

This area is governed by product liability law-the liability of any or all parties along the manufacturing line of the product for damage caused by the product. This could mean accountability at the top of the chain, with the manufacturer, or the bottom of the chain, with the retail store owner.

How does a prima facie case exist? If the consumer buys a product that the defendant sold and the defendant is the commercial seller of such a product, then, if the consumer suffers an injury and the item was defective when sold to the consumer, the consumer may have a products liability case if the product was a close and proximate cause of their injury. This is because it is assumed that the product will meet a consumer's ordinary expectations and, when it is unsafe, it does not meet that standard.

Even though the nature of product liability law is such that it is said to favor the accident victim, it must be kept in mind that there is a reason for that-an injured person probably does not have the resources to run after the manufacturer or seller. Therefore, by shifting the onus of proving that they were not negligent on the manufacturer or by having the injured party only prove that the defective product was what they were given, the plaintiff may be able to recover compensation for the personal injuries they have suffered by someone else's negligence.

Source: Cornell Law School, "Products liability," accessed September 19, 2017

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