When a consumer purchases a product, he does so with the expectation that the product will be both safe and effective. Buyers trust that manufacturers have upheld their responsibility to let only tested goods out into the market. There are times, however, when this is not the case. Dangerous or defective products find their way into the hands of consumers and cause significant harm. In some cases, the liability of the manufacturer is clear. However, there are other times when a consumer is unsure of his rights, especially when the product was not necessarily used as intended. So, it’s important for consumers to know their options.
The Elements of Product Liability in Tennessee
To pursue a successful product liability case in Tennessee, victims must show that the manufacturer is at fault for their injuries or other damages. In general, it must be proved that:
- A person suffered an injury
- The product used was defective or dangerous
- This defect caused the injury
Defects can be shown in design, manufacturing, or failure to warn. A design defect would indicate an inherent flaw in the product that makes it dangerous, while a manufacturing defect would be a problem with some specific part of the product. Failure to warn refers to a manufacturer’s duty to provide warnings about ways in which the product could potentially cause harm and instructions for its proper use.
Who Is Liable When Consumers Don’t Follow Use Instructions?
In general, it is expected that a consumer follow the product instructions and use the product as the manufacturer intended. However, there is some leeway when addressing this guideline. Tennessee statutes state that manufacturers should take into consideration both the intended use and other uses that could be reasonably expected from the general public. This means, even if a person is injured while using a product outside of the specific intent, but still in a manner that is reasonable for other ordinary consumers, the victim could still pursue a legal claim. Manufacturers should offer products that will be safe in all of the ways people may be expected to use them. While this guideline may not apply in every case, it can be possible to obtain compensation if you or someone you love suffered injuries from a defective product even if it was used outside its stated purpose.
Every situation is unique, and the experienced product liability attorneys at Holton Law Firm can help you understand your rights. Call our Memphis office today to learn more about your possible legal options, and schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.