Defective products are something we all face in our day-to-day lives, but many of us don’t stop to consider what potential harm can arise from dangerously defective products. Go Justice Network provides some preliminary information about liability cases on our website, but we wanted to take this opportunity to go into a little bit more detail about the case types, precedents and other crucial information regarding liability cases. We felt this was particularly important because, even though defective products are very common, many people are not aware of the definitions and steps that can be taken after you’ve been the victim of a potentially dangerous or harmful product.
The first category we’ll look at is manufacturing defect, which is an unintended defect in a product that happened somewhere in the manufacturing process. In other words, the manufacturing of the product did not go according to plans, and for some reason the defect was not noticed before releasing the product to the general public. A defect like this can be anything from a car with missing brake pads to electronics that have outdated or incorrectly placed components. In the worst case scenarios, defects like this can present life-threatening dangers and have, in many cases, resulted in the manufacturer both pulling all products from the market as well as providing extensive settlement claims. Manufacturing defects can also be instances where a product has been misused in a way that the manufacturer should have foreseen and prevented. As an example, one of the most famous manufacturing defect cases was the Peanut Corporation of America case that lead to several deaths before the defect was discovered and the product removed from the market.
The second category of liability is defective design, which people often confuse with a manufacturing defect. The difference is that, in this case, the mistake happened in the design process of the product, rather than something not going according to designs and plans in the manufacturing process. There can also be cases that are a combination of the two, since sometimes it can be difficult to set them apart. Whether a company is responsible for the defect depends on whether there was enough of a foreseeable risk involved with the production of the product for its intended use. There are various famous defective design cases, but some of the best known include the Hasbro Easy-Bake Oven that lead to serious burns, as well as an amputation, and the Vioxx painkiller that lead to a patient’s death from a heart attack.
The final category is marketing defect, which in practical terms means a case where a consumer has not been warned sufficiently about the dangers of handling a product, of handling it in specific ways or of a particular dangerous characteristic of the product. Often this refers to warning labels, user guides and other instructional materials. Obviously a case like this can easily present a danger of serious injuries or death, and must consequently be taken very seriously. There are several famous examples of marketing defect cases, one of the most recent being the Kotex tampon case that almost lead to the plaintiff’s death.
Contrary to their reputation among some people, liability cases are not “frivolous.” They can, in fact, often be a matter of life and death, where it’s important to make the manufacturers and companies responsible for their errors and negligence. If you have any reason to suspect you’ve encountered a potentially dangerous defective product in your own life, we strongly encourage you to contact us so that we can put you in touch with the right personal injury lawyer.