Essay on Product Liability: The Case of a Mitsubishi Sport Vehicle in a Fatal Crash

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Injury Law Blog
Posted at 9:57 PM on February 28, 2008 by LaBovick Law
Mitsubishi product liability case receives $11 million verdict
A West Palm Beach Jury awarded a couple $11 million in a Product Liability suit. The case involved the death of the couple's 25 year old son in a 2004 rollover crash. According to the Plaintiffs the death was caused by a defective seat belt and front passenger seat of a Mitsubishi Sport Vehicle involved in the fatal rollover.
The Counsel for the Plaintiff argued the seat belt was called an "energy absorbent" belt and was designed with an extra 10 inches of overlapping fabric that could break and cause the belt to extend.

The Counsel for the Defense argued the loop of material installed on the front passenger seat was designed to help protect the passenger from head and chest injuries. The Defense attorneys are appealing the $11 million jury verdict.

Thankfully the driver's belt did not have any extra material, therefore he suffered only minor injures.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's 2007 report of rollover crashes and outcomes, there were 10,553 fatalities involving rollovers in 2004. Florida came in third in the nation with 627 fatal Rollovers in Florida. Texas came in second in the nation with 876 fatal rollovers in Texas. California led the nation with 1068 fatal rollovers in California. Ironically, Montana led the nation percentage wise with 67% fatal rollovers in Montana.
Click here to read more of this case from the Daily Business Review and Click here to read more from NHTSA on Rollovers
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Product liability is the area of law in which manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, retailers, and others who make products available to the public are held responsible for the injuries those products cause. Although the word "product" has broad connotations, product liability as an area of law is traditionally limited to products in the form of tangible personal property.[1]
Theories of liability
In the United States, the claims most commonly associated with product liability are negligence, strict liability, breach of warranty, and various consumer protection claims. The majority of product liability laws are determined at the state level and vary widely from state to state. [2] Each type of product liability claim requires different elements to be proven to present a successful claim.
[edit] Types of liability
Section 2 of the Restatement (Third) of Torts: Products Liability distinguishes between three major types of product liability claims: * manufacturing defect, * design defect, * a failure to warn (also known as marketing defects).
However, in most states, these are not legal claims in and of themselves, but are pleaded in terms of the theories mentioned above. For example, a plaintiff might plead negligent failure to warn or strict liability for defective design.[3]
Manufacturing defects are those that occur in the manufacturing process and usually involve poor-quality materials or shoddy workmanship. Design defects occur where the product design is inherently dangerous or useless (and hence defective) no matter how carefully manufactured; this may be demonstrated either by showing that the product fails to satisfy ordinary consumer expectations as to what constitutes a safe product, or that the risks of the product outweigh its benefits.[4] Failure-to-warn defects arise…