Suffering injuries due to a product defect can be a sobering experience. We buy things expecting them to work as intended. But, from vehicles to hand tools to medications and medical devices, virtually everything we buy carries a risk that it was not designed, manufactured or labeled properly.
In order to mitigate this risk and hold manufacturers and distributors accountable for putting dangerous products on the market, defective product claims are governed by the rule of “strict liability.” In short, instead of needing to prove that a manufacturer or distributor was negligent in selling a defective product, injury victims only need to show that the product was indeed defective and that they were injured while it was being used as intended or in a manner that the manufacturer knew about or could reasonably have expected.
What Constitutes a Product Defect?
There are four primary types of product defects. Generally speaking, they are all treated the same for purposes of the strict liability analysis. However, the level of investigation and analysis required to prove your claim for damages can vary depending on exactly what went wrong. The four primary types of product defects are:
- Design Defects – If a product is unreasonably dangerous because of the way it was designed, it suffers from a design defect. All articles manufactured using the flawed design are likely to be defective.
- Manufacturing Defects – Properly-designed products can still be defective if there is a problem during the manufacturing process. Manufacturing defects may result in isolated issues, or may cause an entire batch of products to become unsafe for their intended use.
- Warning Defects – When a product carries inherent dangers that are not readily apparent to consumers, manufacturers and distributors owe a duty to disclose those dangers on the product’s packaging. Failure to provide adequate warnings is a form of product defect.
- Instruction Defects – The failure to provide proper instructions can render a product defective and unreasonably dangerous.
Let’s look at examples of product defects:
A Design Defect in a Vehicle Airbag
In a real-life example of a design defect that has been linked to several deaths and resulted in millions of vehicles being recalled across the United States, airbags produced by a company called Takata have been found to have a major flaw that can cause mutilating and fatal injuries. A defect in the airbags’ design can result in explosions that send metal shards flying through the passenger cabin. Takata has acknowledged the design defect – not only in originally-installed airbags, but in some replacement airbags as well.
A Manufacturing Defect in a Hammer
For a hypothetical but still very plausible real-world example, imagine an ordinary hammer that you can buy at any local hardware store. Let’s say it has a wooden handle and a heavy metal head for driving nails. Now, imagine that during the manufacturing process, your particular hammer gets made with a cracked piece of wood that goes unnoticed during quality control. When you use the hammer for the first time, the handle splinters and the head flies off, causing you serious injuries. This is an example of a manufacturing defect.
A Warning Defect on a Prescription Medication
We all know that drugs can have side effects. But, which side effects accompany specific medications and what we need to do to avoid complications – these are details that require special scientific knowledge and expertise. As a result, when purchasing prescriptions, we rely on warning labels to tell us the risks involved. If your medicine bottle lacks a necessary warning, or if your pharmacist applies the wrong warning label, these are examples of warning defects that can give rise to product liability claims.
Contact a Houston Injury Lawyer about Your Product Defect Claim
If you have been injured and believe that a product defect may be to blame, we encourage you to contact us right away. Our lawyers have substantial experience representing victims of product defects, and we can help you fight for maximum compensation. Call (800) 489-2216 or contact us online to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation today.