The more dangerous a product is, the more difficult it is to successfully sue the manufacturer when the product injures you. Does that make sense to you? It does to some Oklahoma lawmakers. It’s the idea behind the doctrine of “inherently unsafe products,” which was recently embraced by the Oklahoma Legislature as part of its sweeping lawsuit reform legislation.
The law, S.B. 13, states that the manufacturer or seller of a product that injures you may avoid liability by proving that the product is inherently unsafe and known to be unsafe by most consumers. You might call it the you-knew-what-you-were-getting-into defense.
To successfully use this defense, the product provider must prove that:
- The product is commonly used by consumers.
- The usefulness of the product outweighs the risk of using it.
- The risk involved in using the product is common knowledge among ordinary consumers.
- The product reached the consumer in its proper condition.
- The manufacturer or seller provided adequate warning of the risk posed by the product.
A defendant that invokes the inherently unsafe products defense has the burden of proving every one of those elements.
The law does provide that the inherently unsafe product defense cannot be used in cases involving claims of manufacturing defects or breach of warranty. Be sure you have an experienced product liability attorney who can counter the defendant’s arguments and get you full compensation for your injury. Contact Stipe Law Firm for help today.