South Carolina Product Liability Law Series – How are Negligence-Based Product Liability Claims Different?

Unlike strict liability and breach of warranty claims, any negligence based claims asserted by Plaintiffs will focus on the conduct of the defendant, as opposed to whether the defendant merely sold a defective product. Accordingly, arguments that the defendant merely acted as a middleman in the transaction are more effective (under the current state of South Carolina law) in defending any negligence based theories that are asserted. If the Plaintiff is unable to point to culpable conduct on the part of the defendant, the Plaintiff will be unable to prove a negligence based claim. This is particularly important because punitive damages are not available for strict liability and breach of warranty claims in South Carolina, while punitive damages are available in negligence based product liability claims (if the jury determines that a defendant’s conduct was willful, wanton, or reckless).

Accordingly, if the Plaintiff is unable to point to any wrongful acts or omissions on the part of the Defendant, the negligence claim will fail, as will the Plaintiff’s claim for punitive damages.

Comments are closed.