The Three Types of Defective Products
When a person buys a new product and brings it home to use, they never expect their new purchase to harm them. Even if a person doesn’t end up liking the item they purchased, at least the product doesn’t usually cause them any sort of injury. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Certain types of product defects can seriously injure or even kill the people who use them. Although it might seem like defective products would all fall into one broad category, in consumer product liability law, there are actually three different ways a product can be defective.
Sometimes, products make their way onto store shelves with flaws the manufacturer did not intend to exist. These types of defects generally only happen in relatively small numbers of a given product, not an entire line of products. This might be something like a batch of over-the-counter medication being contaminated with a harmful substance in the factory or a car being sold with a faulty tire. With these types of defective product cases, the defect needs to have been directly responsible for the accident or injury.
In some cases, a product might not necessarily be faulty in the way it’s manufactured, but something about the way a product is designed makes it more dangerous than it needs to be. A good real life example of this would be the 2013 Jeep recall, which involved vehicles with fuel tanks placed behind the rear axle, making them prone to exploding when hit from behind. Another commonly used example of this would be a car with a top heavy design that makes them more likely to roll over when going through curves or turning corners.
As with defective manufacturing cases, the accident needs to have been directly caused by the design flaw. A car accident that occurred because the driver was texting while driving couldn’t be blamed on product design. But in the case of the 2013 Jeep recall the NHTSA said the placement of the fuel tank in these vehicles went against industry standards of fuel tank placement, so it was possible for the vehicles in question to have been made in a safer way.
While certain types of products will have obvious hazards, not all dangers are as easy to see. For example, medications (even ones sold over-the-counter) need to have labels that warn people about possible side effects or potentially dangerous interactions. Or if a cleaning product contains a chemical which could be harmful if it comes in contact with skin or eyes, there needs to be a warning on the container informing people of that fact.
If you’ve been injured by a defective product, consult a product liability lawyer. They will be able to help you understand which type of defective product case you have and what legal options are available to you.