Product liability claims occur when a defective or dangerous consumer product causes serious injuries or deaths. When you buy a product, it is natural and reasonable to have the expectation that you will not be injured or lose your life because of a safety defect.
A claim for injury or death caused in whole or in part by a product in Louisiana can only be brought pursuant to the Louisiana Products Liability Act (LPLA), LA RS 9:2800.51 et seq. Under the LPLA, a claim for injury or death caused in whole or in part by a product can be asserted against the manufacturer of the product.
A manufacturer is defined under the LPLA as a person or entity who is in the business of manufacturing a product for placement into trade or commerce, including person who labels a product as their own or a component part manufacturer.
Louisiana Product Liability Laws
To prove a case under the LPLA, the plaintiff must show their injury was caused by an unreasonably dangerous condition of the product during normal use. A product can only be unreasonably dangerous under the LPLA because it was made incorrectly, designed incorrectly, does not have a sufficient warning or violates an express warranty of the manufacturer.
Taking on a manufacturer under the LPLA can be very difficult depending on the specific circumstances of the case.
Plaintiff can win by proving their case and hiring experienced lawyers who know how to investigate and prosecute a case under the LPLA.
Injured parties may recover for:
- Past medical bills
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Future foreseeable medical expenses
- Future loss to quality of life
- Inability to work and/or damage to earning capacity
A disclaimer has little if any effect on a manufacturer’s liability under the LPLA. Instead, the warning(s) contained on the product are evaluated to see if the product possessed a characteristic that may cause damage and the manufacturer failed to use reasonable care to provide an adequate warning of such characteristic and its danger to users and handlers of the product.
The age of the product is immaterial unless the product was manufactured before the introduction of the LPLA (e.g. asbestos). If the product was manufactured before the adoption of the LPLA in 1998, then the law at the time of manufacture governs.
The damages available are the same for any injury caused by another person. The damages that are available are general damages and special damages. General damages are for those damages not easily susceptible to computation such as mental and physical pain and suffering, loss of the enjoyment of life and disfigurement. Special damages are susceptible to computation such as past and future medical bills, wages and funeral expenses.
A product manufacturer can only be liable for injury if it is shown to have manufactured an unreasonably dangerous product because it was made incorrectly, designed incorrectly, does not have a sufficient warning and/or violates an express warranty of the manufacturer.
It is highly recommended you seek legal counsel if you believe you have been injured by a product because there are strict time limitations to bring a claim under the LPLA. The time limit can be as little as one year from the date of the injury.