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What Makes a Product Defective?

It’s a common experience. You buy something that you expect to be a good investment, but when you get it home, it turns out to be broken. Maybe something went wrong when it was made, perhaps the basic design is flawed, or it just has dangers you didn’t expect. Regardless, the product isn’t usable, and it may even be dangerous.

That’s a classic case of a defective product. If you’re hurt by using a defective item in a normal way, you shouldn’t be forced to pay for your own healthcare. That’s why defective product liability laws exist. Keep reading to learn when products are faulty, what defects look like, and what to do about these problems.

What Is a Defective Product?

A defective product is an item that’s flawed in some way that makes it unsuitable to perform its function. A product is considered defective if it can’t be used for its intended purpose without being altered somehow.

Product defects may or may not be dangerous. If a product flaw isn’t hazardous to the buyer, most states only require the manufacturer to refund or replace the item. However, dangerous defects may require more effort. If you’ve been harmed by a dangerously flawed product, then you may be able to hold the manufacturer liable for the injuries you’ve suffered.

Types of Product Defects

There’s more than one kind of product defect. There are actually three significant types of product defects recognized by law. Each type of problem leads to unique issues and must be approached in different ways. Understanding the root cause of your defective item can help you choose the right solution.

Manufacturing Defects

When you think about defective products, manufacturing defects are usually the first to spring to mind. In a product with a manufacturing error, the basic product design is fine. However, somewhere during the manufacturing process, something went wrong, and this specific item is somehow flawed.

When a product has a manufacturing defect, the manufacturer may be liable for harm it causes. Typically, these issues are handled on a case-by-case basis unless the flaw is so widespread that it was considered grounds for a class-action lawsuit.

An example of a manufacturer defect might be a gas or propane grill. Grills need to be built carefully, or they pose several risks. A poorly-made grill could pose many problems, from melting important components to posing a fire or explosion risk.

A grill with a manufacturer defect is made with a design that’s usually safe. However, somewhere in the manufacturing process, something went wrong, and now it’s no longer safe. This could be a poorly-sealed gas line, an incorrectly welded case, or improperly seated burners. Any of these issues could cause serious harm to the consumer without being visible right away.

Other potential manufacturing defects include:

  • Faulty wiring in appliances
  • Flawed medical device setup
  • Misapplied safety coatings

Design Defects

When a product is flawed on a fundamental level, the issue is known as a design defect. These items are manufactured precisely how the design specifies, but the design itself is unsafe.

Design flaws are often grounds for class-action lawsuits. Anyone who’s purchased the product and been harmed because of the flaw may be eligible to start a class-action claim on behalf of everyone who’s been injured the same way.

Cars are commonly subject to design flaw lawsuits. Cars have many individual systems and components that must work together in precise ways to remain safely operable. Furthermore, most cars are updated annually, with new models released every year. As a result, design changes can introduce defects into systems that aren’t identified until the vehicle has been produced and sold.

An example of a design defect in a car might be an electrical system prone to battery fires or a brake system that stops working at high speeds. For obvious reasons, these types of problems are incredibly dangerous. If these defects are inherent to the design, then they’re grounds for a design defect claim.

Other situations where design defects might come up include:

  • Furniture that collapses when someone uses it
  • Spray cans that explode unexpectedly
  • Phone batteries that routinely catch on fire

Failure to Warn Defects

A failure to warn defect is a little different. It’s not that the product or design was flawed, necessarily. The item may be helpful and safe to use in a specific fashion. However, it involves risks that a reasonable person may not think about, and the manufacturer didn’t warn about these risks.

Failure to warn defects are also grounds for both individual and class-action lawsuits. If the failure to warn has caused wide-reaching problems, a class action may be the right choice; otherwise, you can make a claim because of your personal injuries.

One of the most common examples of failure to warn is medication. Many drugs interact with other substances, foods, and conditions in ways that consumers can’t anticipate. While the medication itself may be safe and even necessary, the manufacturer needs to warn about it if it has known interactions and side effects.

Failure to warn lawsuits are the reason so many medications have thick pamphlets of information in the box. If a drug doesn’t have that information clearly listed and causes harm, the manufacturer may be liable if people suffer from dangerous side effects or interactions.

Other examples of failure to warn defects include situations like not warning about:

  • Flammability in cooking spray
  • Chemical reactions in cleaning supplies
  • Electrocution risk in small appliances

Don’t Let Defective Products Hurt You

Defective products are all too common. If you’re hurt by a faulty item, you can hold the manufacturer accountable. The right lawsuit can help you fight for compensation for your injuries, medical bills, and pain and suffering.

That’s why you should reach out to an experienced personal injury lawyer today. They can help you understand your case and file the correct claims, giving you a better chance of success. Schedule your consultation to start holding manufacturers accountable for their dangerous errors.  

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