Understanding Product Liability: When is an Item Defective?

product liability

We buy products daily – from carrots to carburetors – and with every purchase, we trust the company manufacturing, producing, and selling that product. What happens when that trust is violated?

Sometimes defects in products can cause great harm to us or our families, and when that occurs, exploring defective product liability litigation might be a way to recover from the injury.

What is a Defective Product?

The term “defective product” is how attorneys and courts describe a critical flaw with any specific product and can apply to different aspects of product usage, from a design defect to the lack of an appropriate warning before use.

A product can be determined defective if it is unreasonably dangerous to the user. Unfortunately, in many cases, this condition will cause physical harm to the user. When that happens, a defective product legal claim can be made on behalf of the injured party against the company responsible for the item.

A legal claim of a defective product is a type of product liability claim, which deals with the responsibility assumed by a manufacturer or seller for producing or selling a faulty product.

Three Categories of Product Liability

  • Defective manufacture describes products that suffer from an error during their composition. Usually, this problematic product is different from all the others on the shelf, and that anomaly causes injury.
  • Defective designs present a larger problem with the product and describe the problem arising from an inherently dangerous or defective design. Injuries resulting from defective designs can result from all the products on the shelf.
  • Failure to provide sufficient warnings or instructions on the proper use of the product. Sometimes products are dangerous in a way that is not obvious or not connected to their intended use. In those situations, the user should be warned of the threat.

Using the example of a toaster oven, we can discuss the three types of claims. If your new toaster oven was incorrectly wired because a factory worker wrongly switched the wiring during production, then your toaster has a manufacturing defect.

If your brand of toaster has more heating panels than any other toaster on the market, gets too hot, and stays too hot for too long, then you may have a product suffering from a design defect if the extreme or lasting heat causes an injury.

Finally, if your toaster works as otherwise intended but without warning causes a deep laceration on your hand when setting its timer, you may have a claim for failure to warn of an unseen danger.

Products Liability for New Technology

How can technology companies responsible for creating “apps” be held accountable for defects in their products? Recently, in Georgia, one serious car accident resulting in traumatic brain injury could have been caused by a design defect of the large social media platform Snapchat.

Specifically, during the night of September 10, 2015, near Hampton, Georgia, a group of young people were driving up to speeds of over 100 miles per hour. The goal of this reckless driving was to interact with the app. Snapchat had released a “miles per hour” feature that people were using to document themselves driving at high speeds.

The question of how Snapchat is liable for its product will certainly be discussed via this case, and moving forward, other technology and social media apps may have to more carefully weigh legal ramifications stemming from product liability when releasing new products.

What Should I Do if I Was Injured by a Defective Product?

First, take extreme care and seek medical attention as necessary. Then, you may want to talk with a lawyer who specializes in products liability. Call the injury and accident attorneys at the CEO Lawyer Personal Injury Law Firm at 833-254-2923.

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