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The impact of misuse on product liability claims

by | Jul 31, 2018 | Products Liability |

Whenever the use of a product results in an injury or illness suffered by you or a loved one, scrutiny will almost immediately fall on the product’s manufacturer as to its safety. At least, that is the attitude that many have when they come to see us here at The Leigh Law Firm. We often must distinguish for them when a case might actually point toward product liability. You see, whether or not a product is at fault for your injury or illness (and by extension, whether its manufacturer is liable to you) depends largely on the unique circumstances of your case. 

Say you that buy a medication meant to relieve indigestion. A friend, however, tells you that the exact same drug works wonders if you ever have a severe headache. So you take the medication upon having a headache and suddenly get ill. Its manufacturer might argue that your suffering is due to an unintended use. In a ruling issued by the Texas Court of Appeals, the state recognized that unintended use can be a valid defense in a product liability case if its misuse was unforeseeable by the manufacturer. In other words, if an indigestion drug manufacturer couldn’t have foreseen people taking it to relieve headaches, then it cannot be held liable. 

The Court, however, also determined that the unintended use defense is not valid when the use of a product itself is inherently dangerous. In such a case, the danger associated with a product might make certain misuses foreseeable (e.g., you believing that a life jacket will keep you afloat no matter what, so you strap it around your waist as opposed to over your shoulders). You can learn more about the subtle nuances of product liability cases by continuing to explore our site.