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What is a "prima facie" case for strict products liability?

In general, a products liability case is based on a common principle of tort law and the principle of negligence. Any manufacturer or producer of a product can be held liable for any defect in a product that can or has caused injury to a consumer. However, some products are deemed to be so inherently dangerous upon first sight, or prima facie, that the usual principle of negligence cannot apply. In such cases, the Illinois court often assigns strict and absolute product liability to the product's manufacturer for foreseeable injuries and also for any and all injuries caused to the consumer using the product.

In order to prove a case for strict liability, the petitioner needs to prove various conditions existed along the manufacturer's chain of distribution of the product to the consumer. In most cases, petitioners engage professional and experienced attorneys to prove that any and all injury caused by use of a product can both follow the normal course of products liability and warrant a strict products liability lawsuit.

The petitioner at the very outset needs to make a prima facie case that, at first appearance, the product was unreasonably and inherently dangerous. Furthermore, the product in that unreasonably dangerous form was deliberately moved along the chain of distribution by the manufacturer. Petitioners also need to prove that the manufacturer or the producer intended the product to be sold in its dangerous form.

Today most cases of this nature are easily proven because a product bought and consumed is usually a commercial product sold by a retailer. It must also be proved that the product was used appropriately during a normal course of use or consumption and there was no extraordinary use of the product that would render it dangerous because it was not designed or manufactured for that purpose.

Source: www.illinoiscourts.gov, "Strict products liability," Accessed on June 10, 2015

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