In order for you to be found "negligent" in the design, manufacture and/or distribution of your product, the following must occur.
- First, it must be shown that you had a "duty owed" to another party. Simply marketing your product to a customer is generally all that is needed to demonstrate that duty.
- Second, there must be a breach of that duty. Your customer may assert that you did not act in a reasonable manner by marketing your product without prior testing, that its production did not meet your own quality control standards and so on.
- Finally, there must be a causal connection between your breach of duty and the injury/damage suffered by your customer.
No one expects you to be perfect. But you are expected to act in a reasonable manner:
Negligence is most often avoided through good product design, thorough testing and evaluation, sound manufacturing practices, etc. Once you have established your own production and quality control standards, be sure you consistently adhere to them. Don’t let your good intentions go to waste. They may come back to haunt you in the hands of a plaintiff’s attorney.
This information is intended only as a reminder and is offered solely as a guide to assist management in its responsibility of providing a safer working environment. This bulletin is not intended to cover all possible hazardous conditions or unsafe acts that may exist. Other unsafe acts or hazardous conditions should also be noted and corrective action taken. Contact your legal counsel for additional information on these and other liability issues facing your business.