What Are the Types of Product Defects?
Products liability law concerns products that injure customers because of a problem with the product itself. There are three general types of defective product claims: design defect; manufacturing defect; and marketing or advertising defect. A given lawsuit may allege one or more of these claims. Learn about the different types of product defects below. If you or someone you care about has been injured by a defective product, call a knowledgeable Southern California products liability lawyer for assistance.
A design defect indicates that the product itself is problematic and dangerous from inception. A product that is poorly designed or that is not properly tested may turn out to be defective. Design defect claims may turn on a product being put on the market that fails to do what it is supposed to do, a product being unjustifiably dangerous for the purpose it is intended to serve, or there may be a common failure that occurs with a product that was not identified in the testing process.
In recent years, for example, there have been examples of faulty fuel lines that spill gasoline onto car engines, leading to increased risk of spontaneous combustion. Every vehicle that includes the faulty fuel line is at risk of harming drivers and passengers, giving rise to design defect allegations. Likewise, a medical device such as a hip implant that causes severe side effects may have been defectively designed.
A manufacturing defect occurs when a product is appropriately designed but some danger is introduced in the way the specific product is made. With manufacturing defects, the product line as a whole is safe, but certain units of the product are defective as produced.
For example, a given make and model of a vehicle may be generally safe as designed, but a particular factory producing the vehicle may be installing the parts incorrectly or using the wrong type of metal. All vehicles that came from that specific factory may then be defective and may put consumers at risk. Even a single poorly manufactured product can give rise to a manufacturing defect, so long as the problem with the product was caused by someone in the production or supply chain.
Marketing or Advertising Defect
Marketing defects occur when a product has a known risk or side effect and the manufacturer fails to either adequately warn customers of the potential side effects and common dangers or fails to properly instruct customers as to the proper use of a product in order to avoid dangerous consequences. Marketing defects concern materials used to promote the product as well as literature that is packaged with the product. Even though they are not traditionally considered “marketing” materials, the phrase includes problems with things like instruction manuals and warning labels that accompany products.
For example, a pharmaceutical product that works as intended but whose warning label fails to mention a known side effect of the drug may be “defective” under this theory, and the manufacturer may be liable for resulting illness or problems caused by that undisclosed side effect. Likewise, if a consumer product such as a bandsaw requires certain installation or operation procedures to avoid injury, then the manufacturer must include proper instructions with the product. If customers are not properly instructed as to how to use a product safely and improper use leads to injury, then a manufacturer might be liable.
If you have suffered a personal injury or experienced adverse effects as a result of a defective consumer product, call our professional and detail-oriented Los Angeles personal injury team to discuss your legal options. We serve clients across Southern California and nationwide. Morris Law Firm will give you a free, personalized evaluation and help you figure out your legal rights and next steps. Call us today at 747-283-1144 for a fast response or fill out our online contact form to schedule your free consultation.