Everyday, consumers purchase various products for business or pleasure. We generally expect these products to be safe and free from defects. Unfortunately, this expectation is not always met, and consumers are sometimes injured by dangerous or defective products. In such cases, consumers can receive compensation for their injuries by filing a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer or seller. This article provides a general overview of product liability law and describes the types of defects that give rise to liability.
Product Liability Legal Process
Product liability law is an established set of legal rules that determine who is responsible for injuries caused by a defective product. Under product liability law, manufacturers and sellers have a duty to ensure their products are free from any unreasonable defects or dangers. This duty is owed to consumers. However, protection under product liability is not limited to the paying customer. Rather, any individuals who could foreseeably have acquired the product, such as gift recipients, can be compensated for their injuries.
Product liability is based on state law. Although state laws may vary, most lay out similar rules. Product liability claims can rely on the legal theories of negligence, strict liability, or breach of warranty.
Types of Defects
In a product liability claim, the plaintiff must prove that the product responsible for their injury was in some way defective, and that the defect made the product unreasonably dangerous. There are three types of product defects: design defects, manufacturing defects, and defects in warning.
The most common type of defect is a design defect. Design defects occur when an error in a product’s design is responsible for the injuries. Some courts require plaintiffs to prove that the product can be made safer by using an alternative design. For example, many women who used the birth control pill Yasmin claim that it’s defective by design since drospirenone is the pill’s main ingredient. Drospirenone has been linked to serious side effects, such as blood clots and stroke. Yasmin users have argued that drospirenone is not necessary for birth control pills since there are existing birth control pills that function without drospirenone.
Another type of defect arises during the manufacturing phase. Manufacturing defects occur when errors during the production process result in a product that carries an unexpected danger. In other words, the product does not conform to the manufacturer’s standards. An effective way to prove that a manufacturing defect exists is to demonstrate that a product doesn’t match the manufacturer specifications.
Finally, defects in warning occur when manufacturers fail to provide adequate warnings about the dangers associated with their products. Under product liability law, manufacturers have an obligation to warn consumers of foreseeable risks associated with their product, such as common side effects or possible interactions with other drugs. In addition, manufacturers have to provide instructions and proper labeling. For example, women who used the birth control pill Yasmin claim that they were not given adequate warnings about the possible consequences of taking the drug, such as developing blood clots or a pulmonary embolism. These plaintiffs argue that had Yasmin’s maker provided adequate warnings, they would have never used the birth control pill in the first place.