What Makes a Dangerous Product "Defective"?
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Thomas P. Markovits with Mirman, Markovits & Landau, PC.
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Thomas P. Markovits, a Personal Injury attorney based in New York.
Some products may contain an inherent danger; for example, products that require sharp and/or moving parts to serve their purpose, such as construction tools and even some kitchen appliances. However, certain measures can be taken to mitigate these dangers as much as possible. If reasonable measures are not taken to mitigate the inherent dangers of a product, it could be considered defective. On the other hand, if a product can reasonably be expected to present no significant danger, and yet somehow still causes an injury, this product may also be considered defective.
The four types of product defects include:
- Manufacturing defects: Manufacturing defects occur specifically when there is some sort of error during the manufacturing process. For example, broken or missing parts, using the wrong size of screws, and other errors during the assembly of the product can all result in a defective and/or dangerous product. Manufacturing defects may also result in products that are not strictly dangerous, yet are unable to serve the purpose they were designed for.
- Design defects: Design defects occur when the actual design of the product is inherently flawed. Product manufacturers are required to follow specific design guidelines based on product safety regulations for a particular industry. Designing a product that is inherently dangerous and/or failing to follow the necessary design guidelines can result in a defective product that may cause injury.
- Defective warnings: When a product’s warning labels and/or instructional material does not provide adequate warning regarding the risks posed by the product, or does not provide enough information regarding how to safely use the product, this material may be considered defective and could make the manufacturer liable for any injuries that could have been avoided with proper warning.
- Failure to account for foreseeable misuse: Product designers are required to consider all the ways that a product could foreseeably be misused. For example, if a product with long, flexible pieces is likely to be used in a household where children and pets may reside, the designer needs to provide safeguards against strangulation risks. There is no guarantee that a consumer will understand how or choose to use a product correctly; this is why product designers and manufacturers may be liable if they fail to safeguard against foreseeable instances of misuse.
If an injury should not have reasonably occurred, the product may be defective.
Across the board, whenever a product causes an injury, there could be a defect at play. While human error is certainly a common cause of product injuries, whenever a product that should not pose any considerable danger results in serious injury, the injured party may be eligible to file a product liability claim against the manufacturer for their damages. However, it’s important to note that product liability claims are notoriously complicated; if you or a loved one were injured by a potentially dangerous or defective product, it’s important to seek medical attention right away, maintain possession of the product itself, and contact an experienced product liability attorney in your area to learn more about your options. Most product liability attorneys offer free consultations and even work on contingency, which means clients don’t pay for their services unless and until they win their case. This allows product injury victims to seek recovery without worrying about another bill to pay.
To learn more about what makes a product defective, or for help investigating your own claim, reach out to a product liability attorney in your state.