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Defective product lawsuits are governed by Indiana Code § 34-20-1-1, also known as the Indiana Product Liability Act. If you were injured or lost a loved because of a dangerous product and you want to file a defective product lawsuit, there are several things you need to know about this statute. The Indiana Product Liability Act applies to claims against manufacturers and sellers brought by users or consumers for physical harm caused by a product.

What is a “Defective Product”?


Indiana Code § 34-20-4-1 defines a defective product as one that is in a condition:

  • That a reasonable person who is expected to use the product would not foresee

  • That will present an unreasonable danger to the people who are expected to use the product, provided those individuals are using the product in ways the seller expects


A reasonable person is an individual who exercises the degree of caution or concern that a prudent, rational person would if he or she was in a similar situation. For instance, a rational person would follow instructions when putting a child car seat in his or her car.

Products will also be considered defective if sellers do not:

  • Label or package the product in a way that gives reasonable warnings about the dangers of the product

  • Provide instructions on the use of the product that are considered reasonably complete

For instance, drug packaging is supposed to warn consumers about possible side effects and explain how the drug is supposed to be used and what diseases it is meant to treat.


How to Establish Liability

According to Indiana law, any party that sells, leases or otherwise makes available a product that is in a defective condition that makes it unreasonably dangerous to any consumer or the consumer's property could be held liable for any physical harm caused by the product if three conditions are met:

  • The user who was harmed is part of a class of people that the seller would reasonably expect to be harmed by the defective condition

  • The seller is engaged in selling the product

  • The user received the product from the seller without a substantial alteration in its condition

If these three conditions are met, the seller can still be held liable even if:

  • The seller exercised reasonable care in the manufacturing and preparation of the product

  • The injured party did not buy the product from the seller or enter into a contract with the seller





Commercial Disputes.

Home Improvement. Employment. Insurance.

Contract Law



Commercial Disputes.


Contract Law. 





Business.  Trademarks. Home Improvement. Personal.

Contract Law


Defenses Against Product Liability Claims

The product liability act outlines defenses that can be used when faced with product liability lawsuits. You need to be prepared to counter these defenses when they are used.  

For example, a defendant will not be held liable if it can prove the user of the product:

  • Was aware of the defect

  • Was aware the product was dangerous

  • Decided to use the product even though he or she knew of the danger

Defendants can also avoid liability for these claims by proving that the plaintiff was harmed because he or she was misusing the product or using it in a way that the seller did not reasonably expect the product to be used.

A third defense is that the product caused harm because the user modified or altered it after receiving it. However, the defendant has to prove that the alteration is the primary cause of the injury and not some other factor.

Deadline to File a Lawsuit

Every type of personal injury claim has a statute of limitations restricting the amount of time you can file a lawsuit. If you miss the deadline, you cannot file a claim.

Indiana's deadline for product liability claims is two years from the date of your injury.


Your claim must be filed within 10 years of when you bought the product unless your injury occurred at least eight years after buying the product. In that situation, you would have two years from the date of your injury to file a claim, even if those two years would end more than 10 years after you bought the product.     


Disclaimer: These materials are made available for educational purposes only and are not intended as legal advice. If you have questions about any matters in these materials, please contact the author directly. The furnishing of these materials does not create an attorney-client relationship with the author or entities affiliated with the author.

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