Three types of product liability claims come up the most often with consumers injured by something manufactured for sale to the public. These claims are manufacturing defects, design defects, and failure to warn.
Manufacturing Defect Claims
Consumers buy products all the time, and there is an assumption that the product was created, designed, and manufactured to fit the purpose for which it was made to be used in all cases. No one expects to buy a product and find that it does not work or cannot work properly as designated because it has sustained some manufacturer’s defect, but it happens regularly. If a manufacturer makes the product, that company or business is responsible for how the product is made and if it will suit the purpose of the consumer for which it was created. Said another way, if a company manufactures a product, that company is responsible for it if it injures a consumer later when being used.
Negligently Made Products
There is an idea that if a product is negligently made, the manufacturer is the cause of this breach in the duty to create a product well. This is not to say that mistakes can’t happen when a product is being made because an error can occur in making, designing, or creating a product. This is where the company making the product does have some liability to the consumers using the product. Think of it this way: If a company is making a product, isn’t it the responsibility of the company to make the product the right way? Shouldn’t the company have some type of internal quality control to ensure that a product that they make is not shoddily put together and that it will function as the product is meant to function with the consumer’s use?
Before it can be said that there was negligence in how the company manufactured a product, it must be proven that the duty to ensure that the product was made properly was under the defendant’s control. This statement implies that there was no third party in the middle of the production who could have been negligent and may have allowed the product to be tampered with somehow, or that the product was left outside of the control of the defendant and another party was responsible for tampering with or “messing up” the product before it went to the unsuspecting consumer.
Design Defect Claims
A design defect claim is a claim that states that the way that a product was designed was faulty, in that it was designed in a way that allowed harm to come to a consumer using the product. For example, if a consumer used a product, and the design was shoddy, then the manufacturer did not design it in a way to avoid a foreseeable risk of harm to the consumer using the product. There needs to be a reasonably foreseeable risk of harm that is avoided with all products being created for consumer use. If a product does not try to prevent foreseeable harm, it will in many cases harm the consumer using it. But a design defect case can also involve many other factors besides whether there was reasonable foreseeability of harm in those cases.
Defects Can Be Found in the Product Design Itself
The idea of design defects is part of the general types of product liability claims, where a person has a right to recover monetary damages from a company that produces a product that injures a person when using it. If the product is designed poorly, then yes, the manufacturer is responsible for anyone injured with the normal use of the product. This is why many products do have warnings printed clearly on the side of the product to help the consumers know how to use and not use the products that they purchased.
Failure to Warn Claims
In a failure to warn claim, the manufacturer makes a product for consumer use and does not warn that that product can have issues with normal use. These cases are the stickiest of all to adjudicate because of the different standards applied to the manufacturer’s duty to warn of the specific hazards associated with the use of the product. Several other legal theories may apply in these cases, such as negligence and strict liability. When there is a duty to warn the consumer of possible misuse of the product that could make the product unsafe, and no warning was accompanying the product, the manufacturer may be liable in that case.
What is Strict Liability?
Strict liability cases often settle for large sums of money because there are “strict” rules when this type of liability is applied for consumer products. In the case of a strict liability claim, the manufacturer of a product will be held strictly liable for any loss to a consumer if the manufacturer has made and placed the product in the market for sale.
Public Policy Reasons Behind Strict Liability Rules
The public policy reason behind strict liability principles is that any accidental injuries caused by a product need to come from the manufacturer. These cases apply when a product is unreasonably dangerous or obviously defective. It will usually not apply in cases where the consumer used a product in a way that was not intended, and it leads to a severe injury or product failure as a result.
An Extreme Case of Strict Liability
An extreme case would be if a manufacturer made and sold a handheld can opener and a consumer used it as a temporary bolt in a car engine which resulted in the car engine exploded causing serious injury to the consumer. The manufacturer expected the can opener to be used to open cans of food, not as an auto repair tool, and this misuse caused the engine to explode.
As you can see, it is difficult to understand and know all of the ins and outs of product liability. This is when you will need an experienced injury and accident attorney on your side. Just give us a call at the CEO Lawyer Personal Injury Law Firm when you have questions regarding your product liability case. We are here for you and will review your case with you, contact us today.