Products Liability Claims
A Primer for Equipment Lessors
Products Liability” lawsuits represent the greatest legal threat to rental operators today.
Definition of “Products Liability”
A broad legal theory of liability that permits injured parties to sue all parties in the “chain of distribution ,” including equipment lessors for injuries and damages arising from the use of equipment.
Such liability is generally premised on one of four legal theories: (1) Negligence; (2) Breach of Warranty; (3) Misrepresentation; and (4) Strict Liability in Tort when a product is rendered “unreasonably dangerous” as a result of: (a) Design Defects: When the foreseeable risks of harm posed by the product could have been reduced or avoided by the adoption of a reasonable alternative design; (b) Manufacturing Defects: When the product departs from its intended design; and/or (c) Warning Defects: When the “foreseeable” risks of harm posed by the prouct could have been reduced or avoided by the provision of reasonable instructions or warnings.
Warrning Defects (typically, claims that lessors have failed to properly warn their customers of potential hazards associated with “foreseeable” uses of leased equipment) generate the majority of Strict Products Liability claims against equipment lessors.