Product Liability in Kentucky

Product Liability in Kentucky

Sep 19

Product liability is that area of tort law that governs any property damage, personal injury, or death that was caused by a product due to some aspect such as its design, construction, formulation, processing, warning, packaging, marketing, and so on. As mentioned on the website of the Sampson Law Firm in Louisville, product liability is a complex issue that may involve more than one defendant depending on the circumstances and the cause of action, and each state addresses these issues differently.

In Kentucky, product liability is embodied in the Kentucky Revised Statutes Annotated (§ 411.300-340) known as the Product Liability Act of Kentucky. Under these statutes, causes of action include:

  • Strict Liability – for dealing with defendants who are involved in the manufacture and design of a product; the standard follows the 2nd Restatement of Torts where a product is considered defective when a reasonably prudent seller when made aware of the risks would not sell the product at all. Under this cause of action there are several possible claims including: design defect, manufacturing defect, and failure to warn.
  • Negligence – when the claim is made against a distributor or seller, mostly dealing with the failure to test or the failure to warn consumers about the risks before or after the sale, depending on when the seller became aware of the risks. It can also address faulty packaging or certification, and failure to modify or recall as the case demands
  • Breach of Warranty – typically brought against defendants from whom the claimant bought the product directly which establish privity (a relationship based on service) between the defendants and the plaintiff; claims are often made when the defendant fails to follow through with a promise (warranty, express or implied) or makes a faulty recommendation in the selection of the product.

When there is a clear breach of warranty i.e. product breaks down within the warranty period or when the manufacturer has already acknowledged the defect through a recall or other settlement offer i.e. GM’s faulty ignition switch, then it may be a simple matter to get compensation. However, these are the exceptions to the rule and as in most tort cases, the burden of proof is on the plaintiff, so it is important that the case is consulted with a competent product liability lawyer that can determine if it is viable before any other step is taken.

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