Understanding the Different Types of Product Liability

Product LiabilityProduct liability refers to the responsibility a company has if it produces or sells a defective product that causes injuries and/or death. So, for example, let’s look at the airbags in your car.  They are intended to deploy in the event that a collision occurs.  Yet if one suddenly deploys while you’re driving, you would likely sustain extensive injuries to your head and chest, at a minimum. And who knows what types of injuries other drivers would sustain. The malfunctioning airbag is an example of product liability.

Product liability cases fall into one of the following categories: inadequate or incomplete labelling, design flaws, and manufacturing flaws.

What Is Inadequate Labelling?

Inadequate labeling is when information, instruction manuals, or operating manuals fail to clearly detail potential risks or complete information on the nature, components or ingredients of a certain product. For example, an individual who suffers from a peanut allergy is aware that a peanut butter candy bar has peanuts in it.  But they may not be aware that a cookie was made in a commercial bakery that also processes peanuts.  Failure to disclose this would be an example of inadequate labeling.

What Is a Design Flaw?

Design flaws occur when a product, even when manufactured according to a company’s requirements, has a specific problem related to its design.  In these types of situations, the company who created the design plans is responsible for any damages or injuries that were sustained.  Most companies issue recalls on products with design flaws. Say, for example, a car manufacturer discovers that when a driver is taller than 6 feet, their knees are too close to the gear shift, which can cause the car to accidentally switch into neutral. This is a design flaw that could be deadly.

What Is a Manufacturing Flaw? 

Manufacturing flaws occur when a product is designed correctly, but the production line or manufacturing facility changes the specifications, materials or other details on the final product and this modification – either by miscalculation, negligence or a simple mistake – causes a product to not work properly. For example, a limited number of computers from a popular company ovearheat, and 2 people reported minor fires.

What to Do If You’ve Sustained an Injury 

If you’ve sustained an injury as a result of a mislabeled or faulty product, it’s important to speak with a lawyer well-versed in product liability cases. These types of cases, especially those related to design flaws, are often large and complex. At Hilton & Somer, we have the experience required to win complicated product liability cases, and will tirelessly fight for what you deserve.  Contact us today at (703) 782-8817