Do you believe that you have been injured by a product defect? If you are considering bringing a product liability case against a product manufacturer, then it can be helpful to understand some of the basics of product liability law before consulting with an attorney. Although the details of product liability law vary from state to state, in general, there are three broad areas where a product manufacturer or distributor may be liable for damages caused by their product. If you are attempting to recover liability damages, then you will be required to prove that a product is defective in one or more of these ways.
Manufacturing defects are unintentional defects that occur during the manufacturing process. Unlike other types of defects, manufacturing defects are not the direct result of decisions made as part of a product's design or marketing. Manufacturing defects are also unique since manufacturers are always liable for harm caused by this type of defect, regardless of what level of care was taken during manufacturing.
Since manufacturing defects are not a part of a product's design, it is not expected or necessary for a liability case that a manufacturing defect exists in all products produced. One of the unique challenges of product liability cases involving manufacturing defects is that the defect may exist in only a handful of the products produced.
Unlike manufacturing defects, design defects are the result of intentional decisions made by a product's designers. Since design defects are integral to the original design of the product, any design defects will be present in every product produced. This makes design defect cases somewhat more straightforward since a physical product with a defect present is not necessary to show that a defect exists.
On the other hand, design defects do not usually follow the same strict liability guidelines as manufacturing defects. This means that a manufacturer is not necessarily liable for harm caused by a product as a result of its design. Instead, many jurisdictions require proof that a company could have designed the product in such a way that the defect would not exist and yet the product could still perform as intended.
Like design defects, marketing defects refer to harm caused by direct negligence on the part of the manufacturer or seller of a product. A product potentially has a marketing defect if the manufacturer has failed to warn consumers about the harm that can arise from a product's normal use.
Marketing defects are also similar to design defects in the sense that manufacturers are not strictly liable for harm. If harm has been caused by a marketing defect, it must be shown that the manufacturer could have reasonably anticipated the actions that led to consumer harm. Manufacturers and sellers are not liable for harm that is the result of using a product in a way that was not intended and could not be reasonably anticipated. Contact a product liability attorney for more help.