An overview of product liability claims

The products we buy these days come from all over the world and can be shipped to us in a matter of days. With online retail more popular than ever, many of us pay little attention to the reputation of a product manufacturer or where it was made. As a result, we could be buying a dangerous and defective product without knowing it.

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured by a dangerous product, it is important to understand your legal options for seeking compensation and holding the manufacturer accountable. Below, you’ll find a basic overview of the three most common types of product liability claims.

Products with alleged defects in design

The first step in bringing a product to market is to design it, and the designs must include safety considerations. When designers fail to account for what could go wrong with a product or design elements that could fail under normal use, every copy of the product made will be flawed and dangerous, precisely because the dangers are “baked in” to the design itself.

Examples could include:

  • A children’s swing set that doesn’t provide enough stability to prevent tipping over when both swings are being used at once
  • An electric pressure cooker that cannot withstand the amount of pressure created on its highest setting
  • Car airbags that inflate too forcefully, leading to explosions and the release of shrapnel

Products with alleged manufacturing defects

In this scenario, the design of a product is sound, but there are problems with either the components used or the manufacturing process that makes the product dangerous. In many cases, defects are limited to a certain number of product “batches” rather than all products produced.

Examples could include:

  • Over-the-counter pain relievers containing contaminated ingredients that can sicken or poison users
  • An automobile with defective welds that could lead to cracking and breaking apart
  • A line of laptops with batteries that can overheat and catch fire

Failure to warn consumers of safety risks

Obviously, some products are much more dangerous than others, and not all of these dangers can be mitigated. But it is up to product manufacturers to include adequate warnings to consumers as well as directions for safe usage of a product. This is especially important for dangers that may not be immediately apparent.

A good example is household cleaning chemicals. Most of us would instinctively know not to drink these products (although warnings are usually included anyway). But what about using a product in an enclosed area without a lot of ventilation? If product manufacturers fail to include this warning, some consumers could suffer health problems or even brain damage.

Do you have a claim?

Most conscientious companies carefully test and label their products, both to keep consumers safe and to avoid legal liability. But problems can and do still occur. If you’ve been seriously injured by a defective and/or dangerous product, please discuss your legal options with an attorney.