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Product liability claims: The common defenses

Companies fight product liability claims to avoid costly legal consequences. They either argue that the plaintiff in the case has no right to seek damages or that the company is not at fault. Although every product liability claim is different, here are some of the top defenses.

Outside the statutes of limitation

With this defense, the company argues that the plaintiff failed to file the product liability claim within the time period allocated by state laws. In most states, a person has up to two years from the alleged damage or injury to file a personal injury lawsuit. However, statutes of limitations are significantly longer for contract claims.

Plaintiff negligence

First, your business has to determine whether the plaintiff caused the defect. If this is the case, the damages owed will be reduced or eradicated. For such a defense to be effective, you’ll have to prove that the plaintiff used the product incorrectly or for unintended use and that there is no way you could have reasonably foreseen such a situation. This would mean you cannot be held liable for any resulting damages or injury.


The manufacturer is no longer in control of the product once it gets to the consumer. Any modifications that a customer might make could impact the use and safety of that product. Therefore, you may argue that the customer made modifications that led to the injury. In this situation, the product itself was not responsible for any damages or injury.

Lack of standing

The law only allows people to sue for damages if they have the right to do so. Therefore, your company can argue that the plaintiff has no basis to file a product liability claim. Doing this will help dismiss the case and protect your business’s reputation.

Insufficient identification

You can use this defense for product liability claims if the plaintiff has not correctly identified where the product defect occurred in the supply chain. They must properly name the company that processed, assembled or delivered the product. You are, therefore, exempt from liability if your company was not involved at that stage.

Define breach of warranty

This defense is quite different from the rest because it is contract based. The plaintiff has the responsibility to prove that the product was defective. Equally, your business needs to have been aware of the specific needs of the defendant in terms of their use of the product. With breach of warranty, the product needs to have failed to meet the particular needs of the plaintiff.