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What is Considered a Defective Product?

June 7, 2021 Ecommerce

Products are considered to be defective when they have design, manufacturing, or marketing defects. When these flaws make the product unreasonably dangerous, victims have the right to pursue a product liability claim for compensation. 

 

Types of Product Defects 

Here are descriptions of the three most common types of product defects. 

 

Design Defects

Product manufacturers are required to design products that are reasonably safe when used as intended. If a product’s initial design makes it unreasonably dangerous, the manufacturer can potentially be held financially responsible for injuries that occur.

 

Manufacturing Defects

A defect can happen during the manufacturing process. For example, if a manufacturer attempts to cut costs by using low-quality materials to build their products, if the parts are not assembled correctly, or if a component is left out or damaged during production. Another potential manufacturing defect is contamination. Recalls for contaminated food are often in the news, as well as for prescription drugs, medical devices, and other products.

 

Marketing Defect & Failure to Warn

A company could be liable if a product has inadequate instructions regarding its proper use or fails to warn consumers of possible dangers associated with the product. 

 

Breach of Warranty

A breach of warranty occurs if a product becomes defective during the period in which it is still under warranty. If you’re injured by a defect within that time, you have grounds for a product liability case.

 

What Products Tend to be Defective?

 

Product liability cases commonly involve defective: 

  • Cars: automobiles must pass extensive safety evaluations. Still, they are among the most recalled products because just a minor defect can have disastrous consequences. 
  • Children’s Toys: many children’s toys have an inherently dangerous design. 
  • Medical Devices: implants or devices used by medical practitioners can fail and cause significant harm. 
  • Appliances: almost any household appliance can have a dangerous defect. Common culprits include faulty water heaters, hairdryers, clothes dryers, and kitchen ranges.
  • Power Tools: faulty power tool injuries are most common in construction, oil and gas, agriculture, landscaping and tree care, manufacturing, roofing, and home renovation.
  • Prescription Drugs: although pharmaceuticals must undergo extensive testing before entering the market, some adverse side effects are unfortunately not discovered until patients start taking the medication. 
  • Food: contaminated food is considered a defective product, and if you suffer food poisoning, parties involved in its chain of distribution may be liable. 

However, any product has the potential to be dangerous if it is defective. 

 

Who Can Be Held Liable for a Defective Product?

 

Depending on the circumstances, multiple parties may be liable for the injuries you sustain from a defective product. Those parties commonly include: 

 

  • The Manufacturer: They are at the top of the chain of distribution, which makes them the first likely candidate to be liable in a defective product lawsuit. In some cases, there may be multiple manufacturers that can be held responsible. For instance, if the defective product is a part of a larger product—such as a faulty battery within a vehicle. 
  • The Retailer: You may also have a case against the retailer who sold the defective product for simply selling a dangerous product. Even if you did not directly buy or use a defective product, you might be able to recover damages from the retailer if you were injured while the product was in use. 
  • The Wholesaler or Distributor: Finally, you may be able to pursue a product liability lawsuit against any other “middlemen” in the chain of distribution, such as the wholesalers and distributors. Although your injuries may not necessarily be their fault, similarly to the retailer, any individual or entity involved in the chain of distribution of a defective product can potentially be held responsible. 

Other potential parties are a product designer or marketer, outside consultants or contractors, engineers, and any other party involved in a defective product’s chain of distribution. 

 

Contact CaseyGerry If You Have Been Injured by a Defective Product

Our San Diego Product Liability Attorney can help you determine if you have a product liability claim and which parties can be held liable for your losses. Call (619) 238-1811 or reach us online to schedule your free consultation.