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Strict Liability Laws and Defective Products in Illinois

May 15, 2020 Published in Personal Injury

If you are somebody you care about has been injured or become ill due to a defective product, you may need to file a lawsuit in order to recover compensation for damages. In these cases, it is important to understand how “strict liability laws” apply, and whether or not a company or manufacturer’s negligence bears any weight on the outcome of a case.

What is strict liability, and how does it apply to defective product cases?

When it comes to personal injury law, “strict liability” revolves around the idea that a defendant can be held liable for any personal injuries or damages to a plaintiff regardless of whether or not they are at fault. Strict liability differs from typical injury claims in which negligence must be present on the part of a defendant in order for them to be held liable for damages to a plaintiff.

In most kinds of personal injury cases, (i.e. a car accident or slip and fall case), the defendant must have done something (or failed to do something) that amounted to negligence in order to be held liable for damages. Strict liability will not examine whether or not the actions of the defendant fell below any certain standard to constitute negligence.

If not for strict liability laws, it would be incredibly difficult for an injured plaintiff to secure compensation in these cases. They would have to prove that a company or manufacturer engaged in unsafe or unreasonable conduct at some point during a product’s design, manufacture, or distribution.

In order to win a strict liability case, a plaintiff will have to prove that:

  • the product that caused them harm was unreasonably safe or dangerous when it was designed, manufactured, or distributed.
  • the seller expected or intended for the product to reach the consumer without any changes by third parties.
  • the plaintiff sustained an injury due to the defective product.

It is important to point out that strict liability does not mean automatic liability. While these cases will be easier to prove than a case involving negligence, there are many ways in which strict liability can be successfully defended. A plaintiff will be unable to recover damages if they used the product in a way that they knew or should have known would cause injury or continued to use a product despite knowing that a defect existed. A plaintiff will also be unable to recover compensation if they used a product in a way in which it was not intended to be used.

There are generally three ways in which a product becomes defective:

  1. design defect
  2. manufacturing defect
  3. failure to properly warn consumers/labeling problem

Should you contact an attorney?

Anytime a person sustains an injury caused by a defective product, they need to speak with an attorney about their case. Product liability claims can become incredibly complicated, and most victims do not have the resources necessary to conduct a thorough investigation into their claim and secure full compensation. At Kanoski Bresney, our product liability attorneys are ready to look into every aspect of your case and determine the best steps moving forward. You can contact us for a free consultation of your case by clicking here or calling (888) 826-8682.


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