Manufacturers, distributors, and retailers of the products we buy have a responsibility to exercise reasonable care in their creation, marketing and sale. If they fail in this duty, they may be liable for any injuries that you incur as a result. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to know if you have a defective product on your hands. Here are some things to be on the lookout for that might indicate that you’re using a defective or dangerous product:
The Three Types of Defective Products
Generally speaking, defective product cases fall into one of three categories:
Inherent Flaws in Design.
Sometimes, a product is defective because it was poorly designed. In this case, the defect will affect an entire line of products, not only a “bad batch.” Examples of design defects include:
- A line of baby cribs with slats that are improperly spaced, allowing a child’s head to get stuck.
- An airbag that sends shrapnel when it deploys
- Phones or vapes equipped with explosive lithium batteries
- Dressers that pose a tip over hazard which could crush children.
In these instances, you would likely have a case for negligence if your loved one sustained an injury.
Defectively Manufactured Products
In other cases, a product defect only affects a few products in a line. These defects may include chemical or physical mistakes that lead to injury. Examples of defective products in a line include:
- A batch of applesauce tainted with E. coli.
- A ladder with a cracked step.
- A swing with a frayed rope.
In these cases, the defective products are typically isolated to a production batch; the defect doesn’t affect every item in the line.
Failure to Warn or Instruct
Finally, a product may be defective or dangerous if a manufacturer or retailer fails to adequately warn a consumer about the risk of using the product, or about the products intended use. A common example pertains to children’s toys – toys that contain small parts must come with a warning label stating that they present a choking hazard, and are not meant for children under a certain age.
The distinction here is that manufacturers must warn of any dangers that might not be immediately obvious to the user. For example, corrosive chemicals must contain warning labels because they can cause burns, and tea kettles must warn of the potential for scalding injury.
Identifying a Defective Product
If you were recently injured while using a product as intended, you might have a defective product case on your hands. Preventing these types of incidents from occurring is ideal and one of the best ways to do that is to follow the news of the Consumer Product Safety Commission for possible recalls. Common sources of recalls include packaged foods, baby gear, toys, furniture, and cars. Identifying any defective products in your home can help you avoid serious injury.
If you or a loved one did sustain a serious injury while using a defective product, your next step should be to schedule a free initial consultation with a product liability attorney.