Defective products can cause serious injury and even death. Defects can be traced to three main stages: when the product is designed, when the product is manufactured and when the consumer should receive instructions or warnings. If a product harmed you or a loved one, contact a products liability attorney to discuss your case.
A design defect occurs in the infancy of a product. It is a fundamental flaw that makes the product unsafe. If a consumer uses the product in the intended manner (or in a foreseeable manner), and the consumer is injured by the product, then the consumer may be able to recover compensation.
The injured plaintiff must show that the harmful product was defectively designed. Depending on the state in which the legal action takes place, this will mean proving that the design was unreasonably dangerous or the design was negligent. The plaintiff also may need to show that a safer alternative design was available and feasible.
Products with design defects can include a bicycle whose brakes fail, a teakettle whose handle breaks when it heats up or a ladder that cannot handle the weight of a person.
When a manufacturing defect occurs, it can happen despite careful design. No matter how exacting the planning, the process can still break down during manufacturing. Even if the quality control is reasonable, the manufacturer is still at fault if, for instance, the product has a weak spot, a crack or another flaw.
A manufacturer that produces a product with a manufacturing defect faces the strict liability standard. This means that no matter what safety steps the manufacturer took during the production process, it is at fault if the product causes injury due to a manufacturing defect. This standard encourages manufacturers to be vigilant during the manufacturing process, and it eases the plaintiff's burden of proof.
Products that are prone to manufacturing defect products liability lawsuits include tires that blow out and vehicles whose parts are not made to specification.
Inadequate Instructions or Warnings
Even when a product has been properly designed and manufactured, it still may not be safe for all uses. Manufacturers and sellers must take adequate steps to avoid unreasonable risk to consumers. This means that when a product could be dangerous, manufacturers must warn the consumer of dangers that are not obvious and instruct on proper use. Manufacturers have failed to do so in situations involving smoke detectors, power tools, electrical equipment and other products.
If a satisfactory warning is in a prominent or proper location and the consumer fails to read it, then the consumer typically may not later collect damages from the manufacturer for failing to provide adequate warning. If, however, the warning is absent, hard to see or unclear, then the consumer may have a viable case. The manufacturer's failure to warn must be the cause of the consumer's injuries.
To discuss your situation and sort out your options, contact an experienced products liability attorney.
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