Mitchell Lattof | March 4, 2021 | Product Liability
Most Alabama shoppers expect the products they buy in their favorite stores to be safe for them to use. However, sometimes they are not safe. Defective products cause thousands of injuries each year. Some defective products can even be deadly.
What Causes Defective Products?
People expect manufacturers to develop and test their products before they go to market with them. There are three types of product liability claims that explain how defective products happen:
- Defective design
- Defective manufacture
- Failure to warn
Each of these situations gives rise to a product liability claim. Here’s a little more about each type of case.
What Is a Design Defect?
The first type of product liability claim relates to product design. The way a product is designed has a lot to do with how it will work once it is manufactured.
When a product has a design defect, there’s a flaw in the design. As a result of the flaw, no matter how carefully the product is put together, it will be inherently dangerous.
The use of a carcinogen or other toxic metal in a product when a safer alternative is available could form the basis of a design defect claim. For example, hip replacements made of poisonous metals.
Here’s what must be proven in a design defect case:
- The product, when used for its intended purpose, is dangerous
- An alternative and safer design exists
- The company can implement a safer design without significant cost
- The product would have functioned in a similar way with the safer design
- The injury victim was hurt because of the defect in the product’s design
An experienced personal injury attorney with a practice area in product liability claims can help you with this kind of case.
What Is a Defective Manufacturing Claim in a Product Liability Case?
The second type of product liability case involves a claim of defective manufacturing. Product liability claims are most commonly based on a theory of defective manufacturing.
What does defective manufacturing mean? Even when a design is safe, an error in the way the product is manufactured can render it unsafe.
A manufacturing defect might occur in only one product, in one or more batches of items, or in an entire production run. Manufacturing defects can occur because of human error or mechanical error in the manufacturing process. Either way, manufacturers can be held liable for the damage caused by the defective product.
To prove a manufacturing defect exists, your attorney will need to establish that:
- The product, when used as intended, is dangerous
- The product would not have been dangerous if it had been manufactured according to its design
- The injury victim was injured because of the product’s manufacturing defect
Put simply, a manufacturing defect is when a product is dangerous because of how it was constructed.
Failure To Warn Can Give Rise To a Product Liability Claim
The third and final type of product liability claim is called a “failure-to-warn” or a marketing defect claim. A manufacturer has a duty to disclose risks that a consumer might not discover on their own with the ordinary use of the product.
If a company fails to warn consumers of such a risk, it can form the basis for a product liability claim. To protect consumers and corporate interests, manufacturers use bright labels and boldface warnings to convey these dangers to consumers.
Here’s what a marketing defect claim might look like. Let’s assume that a company sells medical devices designed to capture and dissolve blood clots before they reach a patient’s heart. The company is aware of the possibility that these devices will fail by breaking apart or moving inside the body, but they do not warn patients or doctors about these risks.
This kind of failure to warn can lead to a finding of liability for the injuries to patients with the implanted device, and even the wrongful death of those patients.