Defective Product Defense

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Defective Product Defense

Product Liability Lawsuit’s Defenses


Sellers and Manufacturers have legal strategies to help avoid legal liability for injuries caused by a defective or dangerous product.

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​Who was harmed because of the product?

A person injured by a consumer product (the plaintiff) is not automatically entitled to compensation from the product’s seller or manufacturer (the defendants). Excepting a class action suit, plaintiffs are at a practical disadvantage with the seller or manufacturer having deeper pockets, and the ability to prolong the case. This article discusses several common product liability defenses.

The type of product liability claim can influence whether a defense is effective.

Product liability claims are classified into three types: negligence, breach of warranty, and strict liability. The defense may be effective in defeating one type of claim but not another. A defense that the plaintiff “assumed the risk” of his own careless use of a product, for example, will almost certainly defeat a negligence or breach of warranty claim, but perhaps not a strict liability claim in some states. Each section below discusses which defenses apply to which claims.


Plaintiff’s injury was not caused by the product’s design or defect.

A defendant can claim that other factors caused the plaintiff’s injuries. To be successful with this defense, the defendant must successfully argue that the way the injury was caused could not be realistically predicted, and thus could not be prevented by design or warned against. In other words, the defense is that the product did not actually cause the injury.

For example, if someone is burned while using a clothing iron and is shoved from behind, a judge or jury would likely rule that the shove caused the injury, not the “fact” that the iron was too hot. This defense is applicable to any type of product liability claim.

Remember that if the reason for the injury was predictable and preventable, either by design or by warning, the product will probably still be considered the ultimate cause of the injury.

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