Purchasing products that don’t function as we expect can be frustrating. Frustration can quickly turn to terror when that item causes severe injury, disability, substantial property damage, or death.
Product liability laws hold manufacturers and sellers accountable for placing those defective products into consumers’ hands. Product liability covers everything from simple mistakes in packaging to flaws in an item’s design that cause harm. If you’ve used those items and have been harmed, you may have a case for a product defect lawsuit.
There are three types of defects that might cause injury and lead to manufacturer or supplier liability:
- Manufacturing defects occur during a product’s assembly.
- Marketing defects include flaws in how a product is marketed. These flaws include labeling, inadequate safety warnings, or insufficient instructions.
- Design defects include flaws in how the product was designed
The third type will be the focus of this post.
What is Defective Design?
Simply put, a design defect is a type of product defect that is “built into” the design of the product. This causes the product to be dangerous even while being used properly. This defect is not limited to one damaged or broken item but is found in every single product of that type. These consistent defects put each user of that product at risk of harm.
Defective design issues that may result in a product liability case include:
- An electric razor that shocks you when you power it on
- A top-heavy SUV with a narrow wheelbase that makes it prone to rollovers
- A safety guard on a power tool that does not prevent harm
- Products made with toxic paint or materials
- Unstable furniture that can’t support weight
When a product has a defective design, the user of that product, or anyone in the vicinity of the product, can be at potential risk.
Examples of Design Defect Cases
Product liability is the area of law that allows an injured victim to file a lawsuit due to a defective product. This law states that one of the reasons a product can be flawed is that it has a design defect. Design defects result in more faulty products than manufacturing defects because the defect occurred in the development phase.
One example of a case would be a hand amputation or other severe damage caused by a tool. The injury may happen because the plastic hand guard had openings that were too large, allowing a person’s hand to slip through easily. The guard wasn’t designed to properly prevent that injury.
Another example of a product liability lawsuit would be a vehicle designed with faulty brakes. In this case, the vehicle may not slow down or stop while the driver attempts to respond to changes in road conditions.
Alabama has an extended manufacturer’s liability doctrine. It states that a plaintiff must prove the product reached them without substantial alteration. The plaintiff must also prove that an injury or property damage happened because of the product’s defective condition. That would make the product dangerous. The plaintiff may also claim that the manufacturer knew the potential for danger and failed to warn users.
Here’s Why You Need Help
Product liability claims are quite complex. They require intricate details to establish manufacturer negligence. This includes expert witness testimony, proving the plaintiff wasn’t negligent, and demonstrating that any harm caused was because of the product’s defective condition.
If you have been injured due to a defective product, time is of the essence. Contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. An attorney at the law office of Timberlake & League can help you explore your legal options.