Three Kinds of Product Liability

Product liability is an area of law concerned with protecting consumers from inadequate or wreckless manufacturing practices, forcing companies to be extremely diligent when distributing a particular good. Product liability assumes “strict liability,” which means that the manufacturer is liable for injuries caused by a faulty product regardless of how careful the manufacturer acted in the process of making said product. Product liability is split into three broad categories where defects can occur: in the design of the product, in the manufacturing process, and how the product is marketed. The law office of Peter Angelos P.C. is here to break down product liability law so you can better understand if you have been victimized by bad manufacturing practices. 

Design Defects

Defects in the design of a product occur in the very conceptualization of the item in question. They exist where a foreseeable risk was present in the design of a product. Even if all the constituent parts and the manufacturing process were executed exactly as intended, the danger persists. If the steering column of a car was manufactured perfectly according to the design plans but the steering column fails and causes an accident or fatality, the manufacturer can still be held liable. Furthermore, since a defect in the design of a product means that every accurately manufactured iteration of that particular product is virtually identical, every single one of the products holds an inherent danger. It is true that some products necessarily pose danger because of the function they are meant to perform. A chainsaw is a useful tool that grants expediency and efficiency, and it would be extremely expensive and perhaps impossible to engineer a zero-risk version that is commercially viable. The purpose of product liability law is to strike a balance between consumer safety and the increase in cost to consumers extending from company liability for an injury.  

Manufacturing Defects

Manufacturing defects arise when the product design is sufficiently safe, but an error in the manufacturing process causes a defect. The defect may be a single item affected by an anomalous error in the course of assembly, or an entire batch of the item coming from a particular factory with faulty equipment. Often you might see seemingly meaningless or illegible numbers or symbols on a piece of equipment or food product. These numbers and symbols can be used to track exactly where and when the product was made, so if an error in manufacturing is discovered, all affected parts should be able to be located and the company can make efforts to rectify the errors. Quality controls can be put into place to try and catch errors like these, but such precautionary measures aren’t always successful. Manufacturing defects most often occur as a result of poor workmanship or substandard materials used in the assembly of the product. When a defect of this kind causes an injury, the law can hold sellers, distributors, and manufacturers liable for the damages incurred.

Marketing Defects

Marketing defects reflect the failure of a company or individual to adequately warn someone buying their product of inherent dangers of the product itself or how to properly use it. Manufacturers have a duty to warn based on a few conditions: if the product is dangerous, the danger is apparent such that the manufacturer should have been aware, the danger persists even when the product is used in the usual and intended manner, and the danger is not obvious or well known to the user. Typically, companies use warning labels with clear and comprehensive directions on exactly how the product is to be used, alongside an enumeration of the kinds of injuries that one risks when using it. In the case of pharmaceuticals, a drug manufacturer can be responsible for providing information on the risks and limitations of a particular medication not only to buyers directly, but to the doctor who would prescribe it, so that information can be properly relayed to the prescribed individual. 

Contact an experienced attorney at Peter Angelos P.C. today

Product liability is an incredibly important aspect of law meant to protect the public from shady and improper manufacturing processes while ensuring all possible risks of using a product are known and communicated to the consumer base. Without products liability law, it’s possible we still would not know the risks of smoking, asbestos, or lead-based paint. If you think you or a loved one has suffered injury because of a poorly made or dangerous product, a team of specialized and experienced lawyers at Peter Angelos P.C. can help at 410.649.2000 or by filling out a form here.