The basics of product liability

When an injury is caused by a dangerous or defective product, it is important to understand the liability laws in New Mexico. The person who is injured can pursue a claim against the responsible party for breach of warranty, strict liability or negligence.

There are a number of different places where liability may fall. The responsible party may include one or more of the following:

  • The wholesaler
  • The store where the product was purchased
  • Manufacturer of individual parts
  • Manufacturer of the completed product
  • The group responsible for installing or assembling the final product

According to Cornell University Law School, there are three different types of defects that may occur. Manufacturing defects happen during the production process, and oftentimes there are only a small number of defected items among a similar product. Design defects are intrinsic and are there even before the manufacturing process begins. Finally, marketing may be the cause of the defect. This includes a failure to caution customers about possible risks related to the product as well as improper or incomplete instructions.

The injured party must be able to prove one of these defects was present. Compared to some other personal injury cases, the plaintiff in a product liability case needs to prove defectiveness as opposed to proving negligence, which often makes it easier to win a case. Even when the defendant shows that they took great care in the making or selling of the product, proving the product is defective is generally enough to find liability. 

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