When you purchase a product, you expect not only that it will perform in the way that it was advertised, but also that it is safe for consumption. When a product causes injury or death, the victim must demonstrate that the product was defective in order to get compensation for their personal injury.
There are three ways that a product can be defective. A product can be defective in its design, manufacture or marketing.
A design defect is one that occurs when a product’s design is flawed, and the flaw makes it unsafe for consumers. A product may be manufactured with no errors and still be defective because of its design. For example, a toy designed with small component parts that can be choked on by a child, is a defectively designed toy. No matter how carefully the design goes through the manufacturing process, the design defect remains. Another common example of a design defect can be found in the pharmaceutical and medical device industries where defectively designed drugs or devices result in harmful side effects.
A manufacturing defect occurs when a failure in the manufacturing process results in a flaw or defect that makes the product unsafe. This could be attributed to different factors including poor quality control, sub-standard raw materials, or machine error or malfunction. Manufacturing defects occur in a wide range of industries including automobile, medical devices, toys, and household equipment.
A marketing defect occurs when a product’s packaging, labeling, or warning are misleading or inadequate, causing the consumer to be unaware of the product’s potential hazards. An example of a marketing defect is the advertisement of a drug without warnings about potential side effects or contraindications.
Defective Product Liability
When use of a product causes death, injury, emotional harm, or loss of property, how do you know if the product was defective and who to hold liable for harm caused? The answer is not always easily ascertainable. Here are some factors that the courts consider when determining a defective product case:
The product defect: a consumer making a product defect claim must demonstrate that the product had a defect that made it unreasonably dangerous. The consumer must also establish that the defect existed at the time the product left the manufacturer, and the defect was the cause of their injury.
Safety devices: a manufacturer may be held liable for failure to provide a safety device if the inclusion of the device was commercially feasible, would not affect the product’s efficiency, and the technology for such a safety device was available at the time the product was released to consumers.
Intended use: although a manufacturer cannot be held liable for an abnormal or unintended use of a product that causes injury, they can be held liable for a foreseeable misuse. The manufacturer can be held liable if the design feature that caused an injury created a danger which could have been prevented by using existing technology, and the cost to do so was not prohibitive.
Warnings: a manufacturer or marketer may avoid liability when a product has suitable and adequate warnings concerning how to safely use the product and the product was not in a defective condition when manufactured or sold. A warning will not always shield a manufacturer from liability if a safety device could eliminate the need for a warning.
If you have suffered injury from the use of a defective product, you should speak with an experienced Las Vegas defective product attorney to understand your rights and legal options. Contact Koch & Brim, LLP at 702-410-6034 for a free consultation.