A product can be considered defective in numerous ways. Once the product becomes a part of the commerce stream and injures someone, that injured party may be able to pursue a product liability claim against multiple parties. But, there are requirements in order to file such claims – and just because a product injures someone, does not mean that it was necessarily defective.
Potential Defendants in a Product Liability Claim
In defective product cases (referred to as product liability claims), there are numerous parties that can be held responsible for injuries associated with their products. These can include any company or individual associated with the manufacturing chain – such as the manufacturer of the components, the assembler, the wholesaler, and even the owner of the retail store that sold the defective product.
What Types of Defects Are There?
Product defects will fall into one of three categories: Design, manufacturing or warning defects.
- Design Defects – Design defects mean that the product was flawed before it was even manufactured. It could be considered unreasonably dangerous because of that flaw. In this situation, it has nothing to do with the company that manufactured it; instead, it has to do with the company that designed it – because every single item produced according to that design is dangerous. In order to recover damages for this type of defect, the plaintiff must prove that the injury was caused by a design flaw.
- Manufacturing Defect – In this case, not all of the products are defective. Sometimes, it could be just a handful that were affected by an error during manufacturing. When this occurs, the product was not manufactured as it was originally designed; therefore, it was flawed, and caused an injury. This can occur when there are fabrication issues, cheap parts, etc. The victim must show that the manufacturing defect was what led to his or her injury.
- Warning Defect – This is when a product does not have a manufacturing or design flaw, but it is defective because it did not include proper warnings. This can include inadequate instructions, or inadequate use of warnings. For example, if cough syrups do not discuss dangerous side-effects, this is considered warning label defects.
Legal Theories and Liabilities in Product Defect Cases
In a product defect case, strict liability and negligence are often the legal theories that are used to prove a claim. In strict liability, it does not matter the degree of care that the defendant exerted. Instead, the plaintiff can prove that the product was defective, and he or she will win the claim. In most product defect cases, strict liability does not apply; instead, the theory of negligence is used. In these cases, the attorney must argue that the retailer, manufacturer, or original designer was negligent in some way – and that negligence led to injuries. A claim based on negligence must show that the defendant had a duty of care, and breached that duty by not acting with the appropriate standard of care. Then, the victim must have suffered from an injury due to the breach.
Were You Injured by a Defective Product? Contact Malman Law
If you or a loved one was injured because of a product defect, you may have a valid claim. Contact the product liability lawyers at Malman Law to discuss your case. Schedule a free consultation today; fill out our online contact form with your legal questions.