In our last post, we mentioned that there is a presumption under Kentucky law that a product is not defective if it meets industry standards in terms of design, manufacture and testing at the time of design or manufacture. If a plaintiff is able to overcome this presumption and prove that a business failed to abide by these standards, it may be able to make a case for product liability.
Industry standard or practice is not the only factor to consider in determining whether a manufacturer is liable for a defective product design, though it is certainly important. Other factors, at least here in Kentucky, include the timing of the harm to the plaintiff and the consumer’s use of the product. Kentucky law is rather favorable to businesses when it comes to product defects, making it important to work with an experienced attorney when pursuing these cases.
In Kentucky, timing is important in that a product that causes injury or death more than five years after the date of sale to the first consumer or more than eight years after the date of manufacture is presumed to not be defective. The favorableness to businesses is evident, as the burden is on consumers to show that accidents which occur after these periods of time are due to a defect rather than the fault of the consumer or some other cause. Manufacturers that fail to address defects within these periods of time have an advantage over consumers seeking to establish liability.
In addition, a consumer’s own actions can play a role as manufacturers are only liable for injuries and deaths which would have occurred if the product was in its original, unaltered or unmodified condition. Businesses can be expected to try to take advantage of this in attempting to avoid or minimize liability.
We’ll continue looking at this topic in our next post, as well as the importance of working with an experienced attorney in pursuing product liability cases.