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Products liability: more on the 'product misuse' defense

As this blog has discussed before, if a Camden resident gets hurt because of a defective product that was marketed to the open public, then he or she can seek to hold the manufacturer and seller of the product strictly liable for his or her injuries, meaning the company will have to pay compensation even if they took reasonable steps to ensure the product was safe.

However, this does not mean that every products liability case a New Jersey resident might file is an automatic winner, as manufacturers do have certain defenses available to them. These defenses can mean the manufacturers do not have to pay compensation for injuries, even in the face of the strict liability standard.

One of these defenses is that the person who got hurt was not using the product in accord with the product's intended purpose. An extreme example of this is someone who tries to use a chain saw to cut his hair; in such a case, it would not be the chainsaw manufacturer if the person got hurt, as a chain saw is simply not designed to cut hair.

However, manufacturers cannot get too picky about how an injured person was using the product and expect to avoid liability. Not every misuse of a product qualifies to give a manufacturer protection; it is only those actions which are flagrantly outside the scope of what product is designed to do which constitute misuse, so much so that the company can honestly say it did not reasonably contemplate it.

The bottom line is that while it is always important to use products as intended and to read instruction manuals carefully, one is not out of luck if he or she happened to not use a product by the book when he or she got injured. In such cases, an injured person should consult with a products liability attorney for an honest and thorough evaluation of their case.

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