What is Considered a Defective Product?
If you’ve ever been injured while using an item you purchased, you’ve probably found yourself wondering “what is considered a defective product?” It’s a fair question; when you bring home a product, you expect it to work safely and as advertised. When it doesn’t, it’s only natural to want the manufacturer to be held accountable — especially if you believe that a manufacturing defect led to an injury or wrongful death.
But no matter how severe your product-related accident may be, filing a successful product defect lawsuit or a wrongful death lawsuit related to a defective product requires that your accident satisfies certain criteria in order for the manufacturer to be deemed liable.
Learn more about what is considered a defective product in a product defect lawsuit and see practical defective product examples from the Houston product liability lawyers at Grimes & Fertitta.
What are the three types of product defects?
When learning about what is considered a defective product, you are bound to run across multiple types of product defects. In fact, there are three types of product defects that can trigger a valid product liability lawsuit. In order for you and your lawyer to pursue financial compensation from a manufacturer, one or more of the following types of product defects must have been involved in your accident.
1) Manufacturing defects
Manufacturing defects are the most common type of product liability claim. Legally, a manufacturing defect is present when an error in the manufacturing of a product renders it dangerous to use. A manufacturing defect is only relevant on products that are sound from a design standpoint and that should typically be safe to use.
Example of a manufacturing defect:
Say you purchased a swing set from a reputable company and a known retailer for your kids to play on in the backyard. You had the swing set professionally set up for extra safety and everything seems sturdy. But then when your child goes to use the swing set, the rubber seat on the swing gives out due to poor construction, injuring your child when they fell. If it could be proven that the rubber used to manufacture the seat was defective, you may be able to file a product liability claim for a manufacturing defect against the maker of the swing set.
2) Design defects
Some products are dangerously flawed from conception all the way to construction. When a preventable, dangerous defect is inherent in the product’s design to the extent that there is no safe way to use said product, you may be able to file a design defect product liability suit if you were injured using the product.
Example of a design defect:
Imagine you just bought a new heating pad to use on your aching back. The heating pad has three heat settings, and after feeling that the first two levels weren’t warm enough, you turn it up to the third level, only to have the heating pad burn your skin and singe the couch you were sitting on. You discover that the manufacturer programmed the highest setting to reach 150°F, far hotter than a heating pad can safely be.
Because that maximum heat far exceeded safe temperatures and you as the user were unable to specify a specific temperature, you may be able to file a design defect claim against the manufacturer.
3) Marketing/Labeling defects
Sometimes a product can be made and designed perfectly only for the packaging, advertising, or instructions to create dangerous situations through misleading product demonstrations or inadequate warnings.
When a product’s user is injured due to poor communication from the manufacturer/retailer, that could open the door to a product liability lawsuit. These issues are especially important for pharmaceutical products and any products marketed at children, hence the often long-winded warnings and disclaimers you hear at the end of drug and toy commercials.
Example of a marketing/labeling defect:
Say you were prescribed a new medication that can cause internal bleeding if taken with alcohol, but no available literature mentioned this side effect. If you drank a glass of wine while on this medication and experienced internal bleeding due to a lack of adequate warning, you would be experiencing a marketing/labeling defect, and could be able to file a product liability suit against the drug’s manufacturer.
Who is liable for a defective product?
After you learn what is considered a defective product, the next question that is often raised is that of who can be held liable for the defect(s). There are three different parties who can potentially be held liable for a defective product; the manufacturer, the owner/user, and/or the retailer.
Manufacturers: Manufacturers are most commonly found liable for products that feature a design or manufacturing defect that occurred under their supervision and rendered the product unsafe for use before it even came out of the box. Manufacturers can also be held liable for damages sustained due to marketing/labeling defects.
Owners/users: In some instances, an unsafe product can be made even more dangerous by a reckless user. If you were injured by another party’s use of a defective product, that person could be included in your defective product claim alongside the product’s manufacturer.
Retailers: The person or entity who sold you the defective product can also be held liable if they knowingly sold you defective, damaged, or recalled merchandise, resulting in death or injury for you or a loved one.
Now you understand what is considered a defective product. Here’s what to do next.
If you or a loved one have been injured or killed by a dangerous defective product, it’s critical that you speak with an attorney immediately. In this stressful time, it’s wise not deal with an insurance adjuster alone, especially not before you’ve had the time to properly investigate what happened to you.
As soon as you are able to ensure the safety of yourself and those nearby, do everything in your power to collect evidence and document the issues that led to the accident, including:
- Keeping the defective product on-hand
- Taking photographs of the product and the site of the accident
- Gathering and preserving any and all accompanying packaging and literature that you received with the product
- Locating and preserving the receipt
Once you tend to any medical needs and gather the necessary evidence, a Houston personal injury attorney can help you explore your options and determine if you have a case. From there, your attorney can enlist the help of subject matter experts to analyze the evidence and build your claim as you work to win the compensation you may be entitled to.
Get experienced product liability representation from Grimes & Fertitta
Understanding what is considered a defective product is just the tip of the iceberg. If you’ve been injured by a defective product and haven’t spoken to a lawyer, you could be making a costly mistake. Big companies have lawyers on retainer to keep them at arm’s length from any trouble, and fighting for what you deserve will require the help of strong, experienced representation.
Grimes & Fertitta are a team of seasoned personal injury attorneys in The Woodlands and Houston who put their clients first. To us, you’re not just another case number. We keep our team small so that we can deliver dedicated service on every case, and yours will not be an exception.
Discover the difference our attorneys can make and explore your options by calling us today at 713-224-7644 or schedule your free consultation online.
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