Product Liability 101: The Basics

Of all personal injury cases, product liability has the second highest median damage awards — after medical malpractice — at $300,000. If you have suffered an injury while using a product, you may have a case for a product liability claim. Here is some basic information about the three types of product liability cases.

Defects in design
One type of product liability claim relates to cases of defectively designed products. This refers to products that are designed in a way that makes them dangerous for normal use, and not because of a flaw in manufacturing. Defects in design mean that each of the products produced are dangerous, even though they may have been manufactured correctly.

An example of this is a child’s toy in which a certain set of magnets are easily removed and consumed which can cause injury or death. If the toy’s design is to blame for the removable magnets, this qualifies as a defective design case.

Defects in manufacturing
Another type of product liability claim involves defects that occur when the product is manufactured. This means that though the product’s design was perfectly safe, products are sometimes manufactured with dangerous flaws. Not all of the same product are dangerous in these cases — just those that are from the defective batch.

An example of manufacturing defects is a limited batch of baby formula tainted with a toxic chemical. Though the base recipe for the formula is fine, one bad batch due to the accidental addition of a harmful chemical can be cause for product liability as a result of manufacturing defects.

Inadequate warning labels
The last type of product liability claim is in cases of inadequate warning labels, or failure to warn. This refers to cases in which a product did not come with proper warnings about or instructions for the product’s use. The product might be designed in a way that could be dangerous to the consumer if he or she is unaware of the proper way to use it or the proper precautions to take.

One example of failure to warn is a fast food franchise serving excessively hot beverages without warning the customer that it could cause injury if consumed. The customer can reasonably assume that the product is safe for drinking, but excessively hot beverages can cause serious burns.

In any of these cases, the injured has to prove that it was the design, defect, or lack of a warning that caused the injury. If you’ve suffered a personal injury as the result of a defective product, a poorly designed one, or because of a lack of warning labels and that was the cause of your injury, you may have a product liability case. You should look for personal injury lawyers who specialize in that area of law to learn more about what to do when you get injured from using a product.

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