You’ve just gotten sick from mixing products that didn’t go well together. Or that toy you gave your child for their birthday injured them as they played. Maybe your problem is more severe, and your car’s airbag didn’t do its job in a collision. Now you’re dealing with medical bills and wondering if you have a product liability case. What is a defective product?
The legal definition of a defective product is an imperfection due to either faulty manufacturing or design, or one that came with insufficient instructions.
Three definitions of a defective product
A design defect means that the product was flawed from its very inception. Maybe you’ve seen a television program where a corrupt auto executive was trying to cover up the fact that tests repeatedly showed a windshield cracking after routine collisions. Now a shard of glass has badly injured a little girl. The corrupt executive is trying to bury evidence of a design defect.
A manufacturing defect means that the core design of the product was fine, but something went awry in production. Perhaps there was carelessness on the part of the assembly line. Or maybe corporate put too demanding of a production schedule in place and that caused the lack of attention to detail. Whatever the reason, it’s the process itself that’s at fault.
Finally, we have the warning defect. In this case, the product is well-designed and produced, but the label did not contain proper instructions. A common example cited by attorneys is using cough syrup with certain medications.
It’s important to note that the warning defect only applies to scenarios that a reasonable person would attempt. The person that tries to mix cough syrup with Drano is going to be out of luck. Warning labels don’t have to become encyclopedias.
If the product you put your confidence and money behind fails any of these three tests, it’s defective and you have a product liability case. You might also have a case if a product you use was recalled under certain circumstances.