Louisiana Product Liability Laws

If you're from Louisiana, there's a fair chance you love a good fish fry. But if that fryer is defective and causes harm, you may be able to receive compensation for those injuries. Whether you were hurt by your new Saints tailgating grill or a defective Mardi Gras bead maker, product liability lawsuits attempt to hold manufacturers accountable for their dangerous products.

The table below provides summaries of important aspects of Louisiana's product liability laws, followed by more in-depth explanations of time limits, limits on damages, defenses to product liability claims, and more.

Statute of Limitations

1 year for personal injury and personal property damage (Sec. 3492)

Discovery Rule Used Yes (Guidry v. Aventis Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 418 F.Supp.2d 835 (2006))
Statute of Repose None for product liability; 5 years for improvements to real property (Sec. 2772)
Limits on Damages No economic loss rule (Sec. 2800.53)
Comparative Fault Pure Comparative Fault (Sec. 2323)

Time Limits

While product liability law provides a way for you to be compensated for harm caused by defective products, Louisiana has a short and strict time limit for filing those lawsuits. For both personal injury and property damage claims, you have only one year from the date of the injury to file a claim. However, under Louisiana's version of the discovery rule, the clock doesn't start until you know or should reasonably have known about your injury and its connection to the defective product.

Limits on Damages

Louisiana law also limits damages in some product liability cases. Under the pure comparative negligence rule, if you were partially to blame for an accident, you may still recover damages, but those damages will be reduced in proportion to your fault. So, a $100,000 award will be reduced by $80,000 if you were 80 percent at fault. Louisiana does not follow the economic loss rule, so you can still pursue a claim even if the only damage that occurred was to the product itself.

Basis for Liability

In Louisiana, a manufacturer is liable for damage caused by an unreasonably dangerous product used in a reasonably anticipated way. A product is considered unreasonably dangerous in one of four ways:

  1. In design
  2. In construction or composition (manufacturing)
  3. Because of a failure to adequately warn
  4. Because it does not conform to an express warranty of the manufacturer

Theories of Liability

In defective design cases, the claim is that the manufacturer intended the product to turn out the way that it did, but that the risk of danger inherent in the manufacturer's chosen design outweighs the benefits of that design. In manufacturing defect cases, the claim is that even if the product was designed to be safe, the manufacturing process produced an unsafe product.

A plaintiff may also argue that the manufacturer had a duty to warn people of the dangers inherent in using the product, but failed to do so. Lastly, a product may be considered unreasonably dangerous because it doesn't conform to an express warranty made at any time by the manufacturer about the product. However, the warranty must have lead the plaintiff to use the product, and the damage must have been caused because the warranty was untrue.

Defenses

A defendant in a product liability suit may argue that the product was modified in an unforeseeable way after it left the defendant's control, or that unforeseeable misuse of the product was the sole cause of the damage. In some cases, the manufacturer can argue that at the time the product left their control, their scientific or technical knowledge meant they couldn't have known about the danger. The defendant can also try to refute any elements of the claims discussed above.

Get a Free Case Review from a Louisiana Attorney

Manufacturers should be held accountable when their defective products cause harm. Whether you were injured by a malfunctioning toy robot or your carpet was burned by a poorly-manufactured vacuum, product defects can cause serious damage and injuries. If you've been harmed by a defective product, you may be entitled to compensation to help cover the costs of that damage, but strict time limits apply. Receive a free case review from a local attorney familiar with Louisiana's product liability laws.

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