Rosenbaum & Rosenbaum, P.C. | October 4, 2021 | Products Liability
Product designers and manufacturers have a duty to minimize the chances of consumer injury due to defects and similar flaws. They must also ensure that consumers are made aware of any inherent risks involved in using their products.
A consumer who is injured because of a defect or failure to warn may be able to pursue compensation for their medical bills and other damages. They can do so by filing a product liability claim or lawsuit. However, not all product liability cases are the same.
Generally, there are three different types of product liability claims an injured victim may file:
Design Defect Claims
Some products are inherently dangerous. For example, a chainsaw obviously has the potential to cause harm. Someone who sustains an injury when using a chainsaw may not necessarily be eligible for compensation if the chainsaw was defect-free.
However, sometimes products are dangerous as a result of design flaws. These may be flaws that should have been noticed and addressed before the manufacturing process even began. These products may be defective in design. That is, they are unreasonably dangerous in a way that an ordinary consumer would not expect.
Design defect claims are complicated. They often involve proving that the manufacturer could have used a safer, alternative design. The cost of the safer design must be reasonable.
Manufacturing Defect Claims
A product’s design may not necessarily be the only factor that can result in accidents. Even if a product was designed properly, defects can come about through the manufacturing process.
Claims related to manufacturing defects tend to be the most common types of product liability claims. Manufacturing defects can occur due to the use of poor materials, improper workmanship, or general carelessness on the part of a manufacturer. A product with manufacturing defects does not have a design problem. Rather, the product deviates from the design in a dangerous way due to a manufacturing error.
Consider the following example: The manufacturer of a ladder designs a product that should, if manufactured correctly, support the weight of an average consumer. However, perhaps workers involved in manufacturing a ladder forgot to install certain screws or other components. A step on the ladder fails as a result of their negligence. If someone was injured because of this error, they could file a manufacturing defect claim to seek compensation.
Improper Warning or Labeling Claims
Once more, some products are inherently dangerous and cannot be made safer through the design or manufacturing process. When this is the case, it is the responsibility of the manufacturer or related party to warn consumers of such dangers.
Sometimes, a manufacturer fails to offer adequate warnings about the risks of using a product. If a consumer is injured after using a product and weren’t informed of the risks, they may have a failure to warn claim.
Claims regarding insufficient warning or labeling often involve medications. Many (if not most) medications have the potential to cause some side effects. Consumers should be aware of the risks they are taking when using a medication, whether it be over-the-counter or prescription. Suppose a pharmaceutical company was aware or should have been aware of the side effects of medication but failed to warn consumers. In this case, injured consumers may be entitled to compensation from the pharmaceutical company.
That is not to say that this type of claim only involves medication. For example, the well-known McDonald’s hot coffee case represents an instance in which a McDonald’s branch served its coffee at an unreasonably hot temperature and failed to warn a customer appropriately.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer For Help
This overview highlights the fact that various parties may be responsible for compensating a victim in a product liability case. This is one more reason to hire a lawyer if you think you have reason to file a claim. An attorney’s expertise can play a critical role in determining who should be the target of a claim or lawsuit if you choose to file one.
If you suspect you have justification to file a product liability claim, but you are not certain you do, strongly consider reviewing your case with an attorney. They can help you better understand whether taking legal action is justified.