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What Exactly Makes a Product Defective?

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Posted on July 18, 2023

As consumers, we expect the products we purchase and use to be safe and effective. When a product causes an injury to ourselves or someone we love, the results can be devastating. Manufacturers owe consumers a duty of care to produce safe, non-defective products that won’t harm anyone who could foreseeably use the product in a predictable way. If they breach that duty of care in any step of the design, manufacture, or labeling of the product and the negligent breach causes injury, the manufacturer is liable for the damages.

When is a product considered defective in a lawsuit?

Product Design Defects

When the design of a product includes a defect or flaw that makes it inherently dangerous, it means all products produced by the design are defective. If the flaw means the design of the product poses a danger even to those who use it according to directions and for its intended purpose, then the manufacturer is liable for damages to anyone harmed by the product.

Product Manufacturing Defects

Manufacturing defects are the most common type of defective product liability claims. When a defect occurs during the manufacturing process due to:

  • A manufacturing error
  • An error during assembly
  • An attempt to cut costs with lower-quality materials

To prove a product is defective due to a manufacturing defect, the injury victim must show that the product’s design was reasonable but that the manufacturer strayed from the design in a way that caused a defective product injury. 

Failure to Warn Product Liability

When a manufacturer or retailer fails to apply an adequate warning or instruction label to a product and it results in an injury to a consumer, the manufacturer is liable due to failure to warn. For example, a child’s toy must include an adequate warning label if it includes small parts that could become a choking hazard. Products that require assembly must include adequate assembly instructions to prevent an injury due to an incorrectly assembled product.

Damages in Defective Product Injuries

Serious injuries can quickly become expensive, with emergency and ongoing medical treatment at the same time that the victim may be unable to return to work due to their injury. In some cases, they could be left with a disability that makes it impossible to return to their previous profession. If a defective product causes injury, the injury victim can take action in a civil court to recover damages. Common damages in defective product claims include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Future medical expenses related to the injury
  • Lost income
  • Future lost income
  • Lowered earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Any other appropriate non-economic damages such as disfigurement or traumatic loss of limb

Compensation for damages for a defective product injury cannot undo the injury, but it can open doors to the best medical care and provide financial relief for injury victims so they can focus on their recovery. A San Diego personal injury attorney with experience in defective product claims will thoroughly investigate your defective product claim to provide liability and maximize your chances of recovering compensation for your damages.