Business owners: what happens if a product is defective? Businesses, and anyone in the supply chain, may be held liable. Injuries or damages caused by a product can lead to one of three different defective product liability claims.
Keep in mind that every state has their own basic product liability laws, and knowing these laws is important.
What are the three types of claims?
1. Defective Manufactured Products
The most common claim is that a product was manufactured defectively. What this means is that somewhere in the manufacturing process, an error occurred. For example, let’s assume business A creates widgets. Well, this widget may include chips, sensors and components that are manufactured by multiple suppliers.
Well, if the manufacturer of the sensors makes an error during manufacturing, the product may cause fire.
“Dangerous and defective products can cause serious, disabling and even deadly injuries. Manufacturers, distributors and others may be able to be held liable when hazardous products cause damage to people, property or businesses,” writes Gassman Legal, P.C.
In order to claim a manufacturing defect, it must be proven that the product defect was not the norm. Perhaps the majority of the widgets are fine, but just 1% of the products contain a defect, which can be as simple as the product falls apart or as serious as the product missing brakes and causing serious injuries for the consumer.
2. Failure to Provide Instructions or Warnings
Adequate instructions and warnings are required by law. A manufacturer cannot assume that the consumer will know the dangers of a product or know how to properly use the product. Warnings and instructions are required when failure-to-warn laws exist.
If a product is dangerous in some way, the manufacturer must warn the consumer.
Drugs often have warnings, because when mixed with other medications, they can be fatal or lead to serious injuries.
Instructions that are required for basic, safe operation of a product should additionally be provided.
Of course, the injury that a claim is tied to must have been for failure to instruct or properly warn the user. If the user was warned not to use a product in specific conditions but failed to listen to the warning, it’s the user’s fault that the injuries occurred.
3. Defect in the Design of the Product
Design defects also exist, which indicate that the entire line of a product is defective. This is not an error on the manufacturing of the product, but it is an error that occurs during the design of the product.
These defects occur to all products, and this means that the product is inherently defective despite the manufacturing process meeting all of the design guidelines.
Of course, just because a product is defective doesn’t mean that the defect led to injury. For example, let’s assume that a manufacturer’s brakes were defective and could possibly fail. If the vehicle was hit from the side and braking was not the cause of the accident, a claim cannot state that the brakes were to blame for the accident.
It must be shown that the defect led to an incident occurring.