How should the courts treat a product accessorized by optional safety equipment? Should it be treated as an acceptably safe product for which the manufacturer is not liable, or as a defectively designed product giving rise to the manufacturer's strict liability in tort? Many courts have indicated that the manufacturer may not shift the burden of providing a safe product; however, others have allowed such a shifting. Courts confronted with the optional safety equipment situation have addressed the problem as one of design defect; therefore, Part II of this article presents the various design defect tests that courts have developed. Part III of this article presents the solutions that courts have offered to the optional safety equipment quandary and the current status of the law in this area, while Part IV offers a composite approach to the problem developed from existing case law.
Thomas E. Powell II,
Products Liability and Optional Safety Equipment—Who Knows More?,
73 Neb. L. Rev.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/nlr/vol73/iss4/4