What Every Consumer Should Know About Defective Product Injury Claims

Posted on: 2 March 2016

Of the many types of personal injury cases, defective product claims can be among the most complex and unpredictable. A design flaw in a product can be a serious concern, particularly if the flaw is widespread. That can mean many people affected throughout the country. If you've been injured as a result of a product defect, the first place to start is a personal injury lawyer. He or she can help you evaluate the scale of the case and determine how you should proceed. Here are some things you should know about defective product injuries.

Determining Liability

There are many things to consider when you're determining the liability for a defective product claim. The responsible party will depend on the actual cause of the injury or defect. For example, if the problem didn't exist in the original design but occurred because of an error in the way that the product was made, the liability could lie with the manufacturer and not the developer. If, on the other hand, the flaw is within only one component of a product, the liability may lie with the company that produced that single component. The liability may even lie with the store where you bought it if they knew that it was defective and sold it anyway.

Determining the Defect

There are many types of defects that you may encounter, and identifying the type of defect is important for your case. Here are a few of the most common types of product defects to be alert for.

  • Design - Design defects are those ones that occur in the base product development. They are part of the core design of the product. For example, a bookshelf with shelving supports that are too short to hold the shelf up under any weight would have a design defect. If the shelf falls and hurts you, the developer of the bookcase might be liable for that injury due to the design issues. In order to hold the designer negligent, though, you'd have to prove that he or she understood that the supports were too short and knew the risk that it posed. If there's no clear evidence that it was a deliberate decision, you may be able to show that the design was so risky that the issue should have been obvious at the time and the product never should have reached the consumer market the way that it was.
  • Manufacturing - A manufacturing defect is one that isn't present in the actual product design but occurs due to a change made by the manufacturer. Whether it's a change to the design or the material, if that change creates a defect, the manufacturer may be to blame. Sometimes, these defects are accidental, such as if someone misreads a design print or supply list. In other situations, the manufacturer may make a decision in an effort to cut production cost and increase profits. In either case, if you can prove that the defect didn't exist in the original design or the product wasn't made according to the developer's instruction, you may have a claim against the manufacturer.
  • Marketing - The way a company markets their product has a significant effect on how that product is received in the marketplace. Since marketing campaigns can heavily influence consumer opinion, it's important that a marketing message not misrepresent what the product can do or should be used for. As an example, products marketed without a warning message identifying a serious risk of injury could be considered a defect in marketing. In addition, if marketing materials show a product used in a way that it shouldn't be and you are injured while using it in that same manner, you may have a case.

In either situation, it's in your best interest to reach out to a product liability attorney who can help you build a case.