1. Negligent failure to warn . The manufacturer may be liable if the company knew (or should have known) that, without a warning, the ladder would be dangerous in ordinary use or in any reasonably foreseeable use. 2. Negligent design . A product is defective if, despite any warnings, the risk of harm outweighs its usefulness in doing what it’s designed to do. 3. Negligence per se . The manufacturer may be liable if the ladder fails to meet legal standards. • Strict liability torts involve actions that are inherently dangerous and for which a party may be liable no matter how carefully he or she performs them. Under the doctrine of strict liability in tort , the plaintiff doesn’t have to prove negligence on the manufacturer’s part, nor does it matter how much care was taken by the manufacturer to prevent defects. The doctrine of strict liability rests on two legal conclusions: 1. The manufacturer can protect itself by taking steps to anticipate and prevent hazardous product features, but the public can’t.
2. The manufacturer can protect itself by purchasing insurance and passing the cost on to the public in the form of higher product prices; the consumer has no such protection. The manufacturer is liable under the doctrine of strict liability for any harm that comes to a person from using the product, especially if it has become defective during the process of getting the product from the manufacturer to the user. The concept of strict liability also supports the plaintiff’s right to pursue claims against members of the manufacturer’s distribution chain. 3. Breaching a warranty—a guarantee that a product meets certain standards of performance—is grounds for recovering in a product-liability case. An express warranty is created when a seller affirms that a product meets certain standards of quality, description, performance, or condition. An implied warranty arises automatically out of a transaction and takes one of two forms: (1) an implied warranty of merchantability (which states that the product is reasonably fit for ordinary use) and (2) an implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose (which states that the product is fit for some specific use). 4. Agency is a legal relationship between two parties in which one party acts on behalf of, and under the control of, another. In a principal– agent relationship , the agent is acting on behalf of the principal . Employer- employee relationships are also agency relationships. 5. The primary goal of tort law is restoring the victim to the condition that he or she would have been in had no injury ever taken place. Likewise, the primary goal of contract law is restoring the nonbreaching party to the condition that he or she would have been in had the contract not been breached. To achieve these goals, the legal system provides for monetary awards in the form of compensatory damages. Another form of monetary award, punitive damages, is intended to punish, to deter similar injurious conduct in the future, or to set an example.
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