A defective product is a product with a manufacturing or design defect that makes the product unreasonably dangerous to consumers.

  • Manufacturing defect: A manufacturing defect means that the product did not come out of the manufacturing process as it should have and is different from the other products like it in a way that makes it dangerous. The plaintiff will win the case if the product was “dangerous beyond the expectation of the ordinary consumer.”
  • Design defect: A design defect means that the product was manufactured correctly, but designed in a way that makes it dangerous. The plaintiff will win the case if there was a “reasonable alternative design” that was less dangerous and economically feasible.
  • Inadequate warnings: All products must come with clean and complete warnings of any dangers that may not be immediately apparent to the consumer. Inadequate warnings are considered a type of design defect.

Can I Sue Because a Product Is Faulty or Defective?

When a commercial product does not work properly or causes harm to the user, a product liability claim is available. The plaintiff will have to show that the product was defective when it left the defendant’s control. The defendant might be the designer, manufacturer, distributor, or seller of the product. The plaintiff must also be able to demonstrate one or more of the following theories of liability:

  • Battery: If the defendant knew that the product was dangerous and didn’t put warning labels on it, the defendant can be held liable for battery if the product injures someone.
  • Negligence: When it is reasonably foreseeable that a product might pose a danger to consumers if not carefully designed, manufactured, and supplied, the defendant will be held liable where this duty is not met and someone in injured as a result.
  • Strict liability: If the defendant is a “commercial supplier,” as opposed to a “casual seller,” it does not matter whether the danger was reasonably foreseeable. The defendant is liable if their product harms someone.
  • Breach of warranty: A warranty is a guarantee by the seller as to the quality of a product. If the product fails to perform as promised, the seller is liable for breach of warranty. There are different types of warranties:
    • Express warranty: If a seller makes promises about a product through words or actions, an express warranty is created. Examples of express warranties include written consumer warranties, promises made by the seller, product descriptions, and product samples.
    • Implied warranty of merchantability: When a seller specializes in a certain type of product, there is an implied warranty that the quality of the products will be equal to what is generally acceptable in the market and that the products will generally be fit for their ordinary purpose.
    • Implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose: If a seller knows the particular purpose for which a customer is purchasing a product and knows that the customer is relying on the seller’s skill or judgment, there is an implied warranty of fitness. 

Consumer Product Class Actions

Consumer product class actions are available when a large number of people are affected by the same product defect. If the same questions of law and fact are common to each group member’s claim, all members have similar litigation interests, and the group has the financial resources to secure adequate representation, a class action can be an efficient way of trying a large-scale products liability case.

Should I Consult an Attorney?

If you or a loved one have been injured by a malfunctioning or poorly designed product, you should speak to a personal injury attorney immediately to learn more about preserving your rights and remedies. Certain defective products may be part of a class action lawsuit.