Understanding the elements of a Connecticut product liability case

People who have suffered harm while using unsafe products must meet strict legal criteria in order to make a product liability claim in Connecticut.

Many products that are widely used today, including tools, appliances, vehicles and toys, introduce a slight risk of harm to users. Most manufacturers take several steps to mitigate this risk, such as performing product testing, adding safety features to product designs and warning consumers of possible dangers. Unfortunately, some products still reach the market containing substantial flaws that render them unsafe even when they are used prudently and correctly.

People who suffer harm while using these products in Hartford or other parts of Connecticut may have grounds to make product liability claims. If a claim succeeds, a victim may be able to recover compensation for his or her injuries and other damages. However, consumers must first meet several criteria to prove that a product was defective and dangerous.

Unsafe, unreasonable defects

Under the Connecticut Product Liability Act, injury victims can only recover damages if they show that a product contained a specific defect that rendered it more dangerous than a reasonable person would expect. Product defects may fall into one of three categories:

  • Design defects. Products with flawed designs, such as vehicles that are prone to rollovers, are dangerous even when they are produced correctly and used as intended.
  • Manufacturing defects. Products that have manufacturing defects, such as contaminated batches of medicine, are rendered unsafe by errors in the production or quality assurance processes.
  • Label defects. Products that lack adequate instructions or warnings about hidden risks, such as drugs with dangerous side effects, can also be considered defective.

Judges or juries may evaluate several factors to determine whether a defect makes a product unreasonably dangerous. These variables include the availability of safer designs, the overall utility of the product and the likelihood that the product would cause users harm.

Role in victim's injury

People who are making product liability claims must also prove that the defect in question directly caused their injuries or other damages. For example, if a person alleges that a product has label defects, he or she must show that the injury would not have occurred if an appropriate warning had been present. Victims also must prove that the defect, rather than some other factor, was the primary cause of their injuries.

Origins of defects

Generally, people who have suffered injuries from defective products must show that the defect was present when the product left the manufacturer. If a person makes modifications to a product that render it defective, he or she may lose the right to make a product liability claim.

Injury victims should note, however, that manufacturers have a duty to warn consumers against foreseeable misuses of a product. In some cases, a person may render a product defective by misusing it in a way that a manufacturer could have anticipated. If the manufacturer did not provide any warnings against this misuse, the consumer may still be able to make a claim.

Completing a liability claim

Given all of these criteria, proving that a product is defective and unreasonably dangerous can be a complex task. Consequently, if you have been injured by one of these products, consult with our office, as we may be able to you document a product liability claim and seek reasonable compensation for your wrongful injuries.