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  • Writer's pictureBrandon Hicks

Navigating Product Liability Claims in Indiana

In the bustling realm of commerce, where products flow from manufacturers to consumers, the issue of liability looms large. Every state in the United States has its own set of laws governing product liability, and Indiana is no exception. Understanding these laws is crucial for businesses, consumers, and legal practitioners alike.

I. Introduction

In Indiana, product liability claims find their footing in The Product Liability Act, meticulously detailed in Indiana Code 34-20-1-1 through 34-20-9-1. This comprehensive act governs actions brought by users or consumers against manufacturers or sellers for physical harm caused by a product, irrespective of the theory of liability.

II. Products Liability Claims

a. Grounds

The Act outlines the grounds for product liability claims, emphasizing that sellers, leasers, or those involved in putting products into the stream of commerce can be held liable if the product is defective and unreasonably dangerous to users or consumers. This liability extends to foreseeable harm caused by the defective condition, even if the seller exercised reasonable care.

b. Defective Products

A product is deemed defective if it poses unreasonable danger to the expected user or consumer when used in reasonably expectable ways, beyond what reasonable persons would anticipate.

c. Failure to Warn

Failure to provide adequate warnings or instructions about product dangers renders a product defective under Indiana law. Sellers are expected to exercise diligence in ensuring proper packaging, labeling, and instructions.

d. Supplier Liability

Strict liability in tort applies primarily to manufacturers rather than sellers. However, sellers can be liable if they are also the manufacturer or part of the manufacturing process, as outlined in Indiana Code 34-20-2-3.

e. Rebuttable Presumptions

In product liability actions, there's a presumption against defects or negligence if the product conformed to state-of-the-art safety standards at the time of its creation or complied with relevant regulations.

III. Affirmative Defenses

Indiana provides several affirmative defenses for product liability claims, including comparative fault, statutes of limitations, knowledge of defects, misuse, and others, as outlined in Indiana Code.

IV. Damages

Liability for physical harm caused by defective products extends to bodily injury, death, and major property damage. Punitive damages are capped at three times compensatory damages or $50,000, as per Indiana Code.

In essence, understanding the intricacies of product liability laws in Indiana is pivotal for both businesses and consumers. With the legal landscape laid out in the Product Liability Act, stakeholders can navigate the realm of commerce with greater confidence, knowing their rights and responsibilities under Indiana law.


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