A New Orleans resident who is pursuing a personal injury or product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer of a dangerous product may claim that the product is unreasonably dangerous in its design. When pursuing a product liability claim as a result of an injury, the plaintiff must prove specific facts as outlined in Louisiana law.
First, the plaintiff must establish that, at the time it was manufactured, there existed an alternative design for the product that was capable of preventing the plaintiff’s damage. The existence of a newer version that is safer, however, does not support a claim that a product is unreasonably dangerous in its design. A safer version must have existed when the product that caused the injury was manufactured.
Second, the plaintiff must prove that the likelihood of the product causing the claimed injury – and the severity of that injury – outweighed the burden placed upon the manufacturer if it had used the alternative design. This burden includes any effect the alternative design would have on the utility of the product.
While the first element needed to establish that a product is unreasonably dangerous in design is relatively straightforward, the second is not. When considering this second element, the judge and jury are required to weigh the potential risk for serious personal injury against the cost of avoidance. In some cases, opinions may vary widely regarding how far a manufacturer is required to go to avoid potential injury from their product.
If you have been injured by a poorly designed product and have any questions regarding your rights, please feel free to call my office at 504-581-6411 or 877-581-6411.