State of the art is one of the most common product liability defenses you may run into as an injured consumer, and yet it is also one of the most complicated ones. “Wait, whose art? What state?” you may be wondering.
Let us explain in a bit. State of the art is the affirmative defense mounted by defendant manufacturers when they are trying to escape liability by arguing that they could not have known about a particular danger or danger in their product at the time of making or selling it.
It sounds pretty straightforward, but when you are up against this defense when suing a negligent manufacturer for causing your injuries and damages, it becomes very frustrating and confusing.
What does ‘state of the art’ mean in product liability cases?
Our Los Angeles product liability attorney at the Compass Law Group, LLP explains that when a manufacturer claims its product to be “state of the art,” that manufacturer is trying to tell judge and juries that their product adhered to all safety and health standards required at the time it was made and sold and used the scientific or technical knowledge available at the time to ensure the product’s safety to consumers.
There have been multiple cases when defendant manufacturers successfully shielded themselves from liability by mounting the state of the art defense even in cases when researchers had proven certain materials or components used in the making of the product to be harmful to human health before the product became available to consumers in the United States.
If studies showing that the product’s materials or components are hazardous were released AFTER the product entered the market, there is a high risk that the manufacturer will escape liability via the “state of the art” defense.
Is it possible to fight the state of the art defense?
“Although this defense may seem unfair to injured consumers, it actually makes sense why this defense exists,” says our experienced product liability attorney in Los Angeles. After all, if a manufacturer could not have known about a certain defect or danger at the time of making or selling the product, why would it be fair to hold that manufacturer liable for something it could not have predicted or known?
And yet, many manufacturers mount this defense when it is not appropriate. A skilled lawyer can help you fight against the state of the art defense by collecting proof that a safer alternative design was available at the time the defective or hazardous product was made or sold.
Also, a Los Angeles product liability attorney can help you establish that the manufacturer knew or should have figured out a safer design, but failed to do so at the time of making the product. In that case, your lawyer will have to prove that you would not have been injured had the manufacturer made its product according to the alternative and safer design.
A lawyer can help you prove that the manufacturer is wrong
Establishing what materials and knowledge was available at the time the defendant manufacturer was making its products is rather tricky, and requires the help of skilled experts in the field. Luckily for you, here at the Compass Law Group, LLP, we retain the services of experts who specialize in studying design defects and unsafe materials and their potential hazardous effect on human health.