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Gas cans show the complexities of product liability suits

Product liability lawsuits can certainly be complex, and some consumers even find them a bit strange and perplexing. Back in 2012, one of the cases that best illustrated this relationship was the one involving Blitz gas cans.

Blitz had been selling millions of units every year, producing the standard red gas cans people use for snowmobiles, lawnmowers and more. However, some of the cans caught on fire or exploded, and the company was sued so many times that it went out of business.

On the outside, some people felt that the cases were crazy. After all, people had been doing things like pouring gas from the can onto a campfire. Since this is not what the can was designed for, how could the company be responsible?

However, on the other side, there were clear things that Blitz could have done to make the cans safer. For instance, they could have added a small device to the front of the nozzle to stop the flames. They didn't do so, and some argued that they were being greedy and putting people's lives in danger.

Another interesting point in these cases is that the company had skipped court cases in some instances by settling for millions of dollars. If they were as innocent as they were made out to be, they would have fought the allegations in court, not settled.

This situation got a lot of press and really showed how complex these cases could be, with different sides looking at the same situation in two very different ways. If you've been injured in Illinois and you think a manufacturer was at fault, be sure that you know your rights, no matter what the other side claims.

Source: New York Times, "A Factory’s Closing Focuses Attention on Tort Reform," CLIFFORD KRAUSS, accessed May. 26, 2015

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