Consumers purchase thousands of products every day. These include household appliances, automobiles, and home remedies. Some of these products are dangerous. A dangerous product has an injury risk to people who buy and use it.
Products can be dangerous for a number of reasons. Products can be dangerous because of how they are designed, because of how they are manufactured, or because of how they are marketed. Consumers injured by a dangerous product may file a lawsuit claiming the danger caused injury. This type of lawsuit is called a products liability lawsuit.
What is a Defectively Designed Product?
A product may contain a design defect. A design defect is a flaw in the design of a product. The flaw renders the product unsafe. Examples of such products include products with a structural defect (such as a child seat locking mechanism that does not secure the child in the seat). Other examples include products with a defect that creates a hazardous condition (such as a product’s chemical composition rendering it toxic, flammable, or poisonous).
Other examples include a defect that impairs the product from operating (such as a defectively designed ignition key that will not start a vehicle, or cause the vehicle to overheat). Because of the defect in design, the consumer is injured.
What is a Defectively Manufactured Product?
A product may contain a manufacturing defect. A manufacturing defect is not the same as a design defect. A design defect is a defect that exists at the “drawing board” or conceptual stage. A manufacturing defect is created when a product has not been manufactured according to specifications. As a result of the failure to properly manufacture the product, the consumer gets injured. An example of a defectively manufactured product is a phone with a battery that was not produced according to specification. Because of this, the battery overheats, then explodes, injuring a consumer.
Can a Product Contain a Manufacturing Defect But Not a Design Defect?
A product can contain a manufacturing defect without being defective in design. Such products can be so-called “inherently dangerous” products. Inherently dangerous are those that have a high risk of injury. Examples are firearms and knives. If these products function as intended, manufacturers are not liable for defective design. For example, a pistol manufacturer of a firearm is not liable merely because the gun was used to kill another person.
However, if the killing occurred because the gun was manufactured defectively, the manufacturer can be held liable for a manufacturing defect. Another product example is an inherently dangerous chemical, such as ammonia. An ammonia product may be properly designed. However, it may be defectively manufactured. The product container may have a crack that causes ammonia to spill, injuring a consumer. Here, the manufacturer can be held liable for a manufacturing defect.
What is a Marketing Defect?
A product may contain a defect in marketing. Marketing defects include failure to warn, or failure to provide instructions. A failure to warn is a failure to provide a warning label or other information to the consumer that alerts the consumer to dangers associated with product use.
For example, a product may, if combined with a common household substance, cause injury. If this danger is not obvious to an ordinary consumer, and the consumer becomes injured through use of the product in a foreseeable (expected or typical) manner, the consumer may sue for failure to warn. Likewise, if instructions on product use are needed to minimize risk of injury, and the instructions are not provided, the consumer may sue for failure to provide instructions.
Are There Other Kinds of Dangerous Products?
Some products are designed and manufactured safely. However, between the time the product leaves the hands of the manufacturer and the time the product ends up in the hands of the consumer, it is altered or modified. A supplier, distributor or seller makes the modification. If a modification or alteration renders a safe product unsafe, a consumer injured by the unsafe, dangerous product, may sue the entity that rendered the product unsafe.
Examples of alterations and modifications include removal of safety mechanisms such as childproofing mechanisms. Other examples include contaminating food that was safe, or removing safety mechanisms from an electrical appliance.
Can I File a Dangerous Products Lawsuit?
A consumer may file a dangerous products lawsuit. The consumer must demonstrate the product was dangerous, and that the danger resulted in injury. The injury must result in damages. Damages include monetary losses. Monetary losses include medical bills, lost wages, and costs of a replacement product.
Do I Need the Help of a Lawyer with a Dangerous Products Case?
If you were injured by a dangerous product, you should contact an experienced defective products attorney or products liability attorney. An experienced products liability near you can review the facts of your case, advise you of your rights and options, and represent you in a lawsuit.