The state of Louisiana adopts a strict liability cause of action against a defective product manufacturer. Under the Louisiana Product Liability Act, a manufacturer is liable to an injured party for the damages proximately caused by a characteristic of their product that renders it “unreasonably dangerous.”
Who Are Considered Manufacturers in a Product Liability Claim?
Under the Louisiana Products Liability Act, a manufacturer may include any entity producing, fabricating, constructing, or designing a product. It may also include an entity incorporating a component or material made by another entity into the final product.
Moreover, a seller of a product may also be identified as a manufacturer under the law if they have any control or input to the product’s design, construction, or quality.
What Categories of Claims Can a Product Be Considered Unreasonably Dangerous?
To validly claim that a product is unreasonably dangerous, an injured party must be able to show a product defect in at least one of the categories listed below:
- Unreasonably dangerous in the construction or composition of the product
This applies if the product deviated from the manufacturer’s specifications or performance standards materially from when it left the manufacturer’s control.
- Unreasonably dangerous in the product’s design
This applies if, at the time the product left the manufacturer’s control, there existed an alternate design for the product that could have prevented the claimant’s damage and that the burden of adopting the alternative design would have been minimal compared to the damage incurred by the injured party.
- Unreasonably dangerous due to the lack of adequate warning by the manufacturer for the dangers posed by the product
This applies if, when the product left the manufacturer’s control, there is no accompanying warning by the manufacturer that the product has a dangerous characteristic to its users or handlers.
Nonetheless, there are exceptions to this rule. Generally, a manufacturer is not required to provide a warning when either 1.) the product is not dangerous if it is used in a reasonable and intended manner by the ordinary user or handler, or 2.) if the user or handler of the product reasonably should have expected or have known about the dangerous character of the product.
- Unreasonably dangerous because of nonconformity to the manufacturer’s express warranty about the product.
This applies when a manufacturer makes an untrue express warranty and said expressed warranty induced the injured party to use the product, and that the damage was proximately caused by the false express warranty.
What Are The Four Elements of a Product Liability Claim Under the Louisiana Products Liability Act?
The injured party has the burden of proof to satisfy the following four elements to recover in a product liability claim under Louisiana law successfully:
- There was an injury or loss suffered
- That the product is defective
- That the product’s defect has caused the damage or loss sustained; and
- The product was being used as it was intended
What Kind of Damages Can an Injured Party Claim Against a Manufacturer in a Products Liability Case?
The Louisiana Products Liability Act allows injured parties comprehensive claims against the manufacturer in a products liability case.
Such damages may include lost wages, pain, and suffering, future loss of enjoyment of life, loss of ability to work, medical expenses, whether it be for past, incurring, and even foreseeable medical expenses, as well as other actual damages that are related to the injuries incurred due to the defective product.
Are There Any Limitations to Damages an Injured Party Can Claim Against a Manufacturer?
Yes, there are.
Generally, Louisiana Products Liability Act does not allow the recovery of punitive damages. This means that an injured party can only claim extensive actual damages incurred from the defective product.
Is There a Time Limit to Filing a Product Liability Case Against a Manufacturer?
Yes, there is.
Under Louisiana law, a claim for personal injury or product damage must be filed within one year of the date of the injury. However, the one-year time does not begin until the injured party knew or should reasonably have known about their injury and its connection to the defective product.
Are There Any Specific Manufacturers of Products That The Louisiana Product Liability Act Does Not Apply?
Yes, the following manufacturers and service providers are exempted from product liability claims under the Louisiana Products Liability Act.
- Professional services providers, including those whose services results in a defective product
- Non-professional service providers when their service is focused on the furnishing of judgment or skills even if it results in a defective product
- Producers of the following products: natural fruits, other raw products in their natural state that were derived from animals, fowls, aquatic life, or invertebrates, including milk, eggs, honey, and wool.
- Producers, including farmers, of agricultural plants in their natural state
- Producers, including harvesters, of seafood, or aquatic life in their natural state
Navigating a product liability case against a manufacturer is a complicated matter, and it involves comprehensive legal analysis, investigation, and application of the law. Having a competent legal representation could provide your case with a better resolution.
If you or a loved one has been injured or adversely affected by a defective product, you need a reputable lawyer on your side. Our highly experienced injury lawyers are here to guide and help you in your case. Please call us at (225) 963-9638 or you can click here to contact us for a consultation. Our dependable personal injury lawyers can help you assess your situation, represent your claim, and answer any concerns you may have regarding your lawsuit.