How Do You Prove Negligence In A Products Liability Case?

AUTHOR: A.J. Bruning | November 19, 2015
How Do You Prove Negligence In A Products Liability Case?

In a products liability case, there are several different theories of liability that a plaintiff can use as a legal basis to recover for losses or injuries including tortious misrepresentation, a form of guarantee such as a breach of warranty, strict liability, or negligence.1

Products Liability Claim

Products liability is a type of personal injury claim that allows an injured party to hold liable any or all parties involved in the chain of distribution of a product that caused a harm or damage.2 Some of the common parties within the chain of distribution include the manufacturer, component parts manufacturer, assembling manufacturer, wholesaler, or retail store.3 A products liability case arises when a products is deemed dangerous due to a design defect caused by an inherent flaw making the product unreasonably dangerous, a manufacturing defect caused by a flaw in the construction or production of a product, or a marketing defect caused by improper instructions or a failure to warn consumers of latent dangerous.4

The Theory of Negligence

Consumers expect manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, and retailers to meet a reasonable standard of care in the creation, production, and supply of products that are being sold within the market. However, when a product is placed into the stream of commerce despite the presence of a defect or danger, then the party may have acted negligently. The theory of negligence is satisfied through five elements: the manufacturer owed a duty to the plaintiff, manufacturer breached that duty, the breach was the actual cause of injury, the breach was the proximate cause of injury, and actual damages were suffered by the plaintiff as a result of the negligent act.5

Negligence and Defective Products

Satisfying the five elements of the theory of negligence is essential to establishing liability in a products liability case based on the reasonable care standard. It is also key to prove that the manufacturer or defendant could have foreseen the risks and uses of the product as well as the fact that the plaintiff was using the product in the intended capacity at the time of injury.6 Depending on the nature and circumstances of injury, it is possible that additional theories besides negligence may be used in a products liability case. Determining the requirements and applicability of any legal theory including negligence is important, because there may be a theory which better suits a particular injured party’s claim or case fact over another legal basis. For instance, there may be a preference for strict liability when a defendant is injured due to no fault of their own, because it is a theory that often functions to replace negligence and has an easier burden of proof.7

Contact an Experienced St. Louis Personal Injury Attorney for a Free Consultation

If you have been harmed by a product due to the negligence of another party, it is important to discuss the circumstances of your injury with an experienced product liability lawyer who can help to protect your legal rights and interests. To contact a personal injury attorney for a free consultation please feel free to call the The Bruning Law Firm trial attorneys at 314-735-8100.



A.J. Bruning


I was born and raised to represent individuals who have been needlessly injured. I mean that literally. At a young age my father would tell me about the clients he was representing. I would meet them and take pride in their admiration of my father. I always knew I wanted to be a lawyer and represent clients that needed my help.

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