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What is considered a manufacturer defect?

In Tennessee, products liability lawsuits are governed by the Tennessee Products Liability Act. This law provides a way for consumers to sue companies that sell defective products. There are several different categories of products liability, one of which is manufacturing defect. As any product liability lawyer in Tennessee knows, pursuing a manufacturing defect claim requires that plaintiffs satisfy specific burdens of proof.

The definition of manufacturing defects

According to the Cornell University Law School's Legal Information Institute, manufacturing defects are defects that result from unintended production errors. This category applies to products that departed from their intended designs. As a result of these departures, consumers received products that were more dangerous than expected.

Under the TLPA, "manufacturer" is defined as the designer, producer, fabricator, compounder, assembler or processor of a product or a product's component parts. A manufacturing defect lawsuit may name more than manufacturer as a defendant.

Strict liability

In some ways, the plaintiff's requirements are simpler in a manufacturing defect case than in other types of civil litigation. As explained by the LII, most personal injury claims require plaintiffs to prove that the defendants behaved negligently. Product liability, however, is a strict liability offense. In such cases, plaintiffs only need to prove that a defect exists. The defendants' intentions are not an issue.

The LII notes that strict liability is applied in products liability cases for a few reasons. For one, the public trusts that the products they purchase are safe for use. These consumers are presumed to be at a disadvantage if a product is defective. If the product is dangerous, consumers are not likely to know this prior to using it. Another reason for using strict liability is that it makes more sense to place responsibility on manufacturers. The rationale here is that these manufacturers oversee production. As such, these companies are in the best position to monitor for dangerous defects.

Proving the existence of a manufacturing defect

While plaintiffs do not need to show that defendants were negligent, they do need to link the defendants to the defect. Any product liability lawyer in Tennessee would note that this requires investigating which companies may have played a role in manufacturing the defective product.

Possible damages

If a plaintiff satisfies the burdens of proof required, then that plaintiff may receive damages from the defendant(s). According to the TLPA, this may result in compensation for physical injuries, financial loss and emotional trauma. In addition, manufacturers that are found to have behaved in an especially egregious manner may face punitive damages. As the name suggests, punitive damages are meant as a punishment for behavior that is considered extraordinarily dangerous to consumers.

Victims of dangerous products may have the right to seek compensation for their injuries. Those who wish to learn more about such lawsuits may find it beneficial to consult with a product liability lawyer in Tennessee.

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