Product Liability and Aviation Accidents

Pilot errors may contribute to aviation accidents due to mechanical problems with the aircraft or some of its component parts, and these accidents result in injuries of the passengers. In these cases, the manufacturer of the aircraft or of the component or equipment may share the legal blame with the pilots for the aviation accidents or crash, under the legal theory called “strict liability.”

Strict Liability Defined

The legal theory of “strict product liability” was developed to make the process of filing charges easier against the manufacturers due to product defects or by changing the focus to the safety of the products instead of the conduct of the person who is using the product, or the aircraft and its components. The judges who made the laws stated that the manufacturers in a high-risk industry should develop, manufacture, and warn the probable risks of using their products.

Strict liability claim against the manufacturer does not need to show proof that there is negligence that causes the accident. In most of the states, the victim can hold the manufacturer or the seller “strictly liable” when he/she can show that the cause of the injury was the defect in the product.

The product liability law differs from one state to another state where in most states, the manufacturer or the seller may be held strictly accountable for the defective product if the product is “unreasonably dangerous” for the use of an ordinary customer. There is a growing majority of the states use a little analysis called as “risk-benefit” analysis. The states that are using this analysis, the manufacturer may be held responsible if the product is unable to function safely as an ordinary customer expects when it is used in a reasonably foreseeable way. The “risk-benefit” analysis test allows the jury to make a decision when the risk is related to the design of the product is more than the benefits of the design. During the aviation liability claim, the jury decides whether there are an alternative and mechanically practical design for the product that could have been applied by the manufacturer when it was sold. The concentration is now on the modern during its production.

The Three Kinds of Strict Product Liability

To set up the strict liability in a product liability lawsuit, the plaintiff or the injured individual must prove that:

  1. The product was defective when it left the manufacturer or the distributor or the defendant’s control;
  2. The product was utilized in the intended way or a reasonable project way;
  3. The product causes the injury of the plaintiff.

The strict liability comes as an outcome of a defective design or production, or inability to give sufficient warnings.

Design Defect

A design defect refers to an entire product line or each product from a specific model is hazardously deficient. In these cases, the courts apply the “unreasonably dangerous” test or combination of the customer’s expectations and “risk-benefit” test to know whether the design is defective.

Manufacturing Defect

A manufacturing defect exists when the manufacturer is unable to make the product correctly. It means that when the finished product is under standard compared to the identical products in that product line where the manufacturer may be held accountable for causing anomaly and not able to catch the defect before the product is sold. Manufacturing defect includes the utilization of substandard materials, faulty assembly, and the like.


When the manufacturers are unable to give sufficient warnings or directions for use, they can be held strictly responsible for the failure to warn its consumers. There are two kinds of warnings, namely:

  1. General instructions which are included when you buy the product. The written instructions are part of the product and when the instructions are inadequate and unclear, the product cannot be utilized safely, such as weight limits and operating limits.
  2. Specific warnings of danger that the manufacturer knows or should have known regarding the period of the sale or learned after the sale, particularly the emergency procedures, warning labels on equipment, the poster in the cockpit, and the like.

Obtaining Legal Assistance

Aviation claims against the producers of the aircraft or component parts need a detailed understanding of aviation, FAA policies and regulations, and particular laws related to aviation. When you or someone you love experiences injury or even death of family member as a result of an aviation accident, contact an experienced lawyer who knows better about aviation litigation.

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