Strict liability is an area of tort law that includes product liability. Most cases that involve faulty products fall under strict liability.
When a product causes harm to a consumer, usually the manufacturer’s intent does not matter. If a product injures you, you can likely pursue action on strict liability grounds. However, a court does not automatically assume the manufacturer has liability. A court can use two tests to uncover whether the case falls under strict liability.
1. Consumer expectation
The court decides if a consumer can reasonably expect the product to be defective. This is a consumer expectation test. For example, if a seat belt does not fasten, the consumer will reasonably understand that product to be faulty. Usually, this test only applies to simple products that do not require special knowledge.
If a product outweighs its danger in terms of utility, the manufacturer may avoid liability. This is a risk-utility test. In other words, just because a product is dangerous does not mean an injury sustained from it falls under strict liability. Automobiles are hazardous to drive, but getting into an accident does not necessarily mean the manufacturer is at fault.
The manufacturer faces strict liability charges once the court finds that a product’s utility does not outweigh its danger to the consumer, and a reasonable person would see the product as defective. According to Georgia code, sellers of a defective product do not fall under strict liability.
Sometimes, product liability is a clear-cut case. However, if a product causes you harm, do not assume the manufacturer has liability. Consult with an attorney if you suffered an injury as a consumer.