There are 3 different ways a product can be defective that opens the door for a consumer lawsuit. A manufacturing defect happens when a product is unsafe due to the manner in which it was constructed. This particular defect must be differentiated from design defects, which point to problems prior to manufacturing ever starting.
Marketing defects pertain to misleading advertising or inadequate warning labels. Let’s take a look at the types of manufacturing defects, who’s liable and how any lawsuit is likely to play out in court.
Types of manufacturing defects
A manufacturing defect can happen if the wrong type of parts (e.g. screws, bolts) are used in putting a product together. Another example might be if the colors are chosen for safety reasons (red to indicate unsafe) and the wrong color is painted on.
A product could be trimmed incorrectly and potentially leave a jagged edge. The chain on a swing set might be loose or a car airbag may lack the capacity to deploy on impact. Any of these, and a lot more, are examples of a manufacturing defect.
Causes of defects
The root cause of the defect falls into 2 general categories. One is that the materials themselves were substandard, which falls on the manufacturing company themselves. The other is negligence—such as an employee neglecting proper procedure in putting the product together. This would be the fault of the employee.
However, it’s important to know that from the perspective of the injured party, it makes no difference whether the company or the employee is ultimately responsible. In a court of law, the company is on the hook.
This is the legal doctrine of strict liability which applies in product cases such as these. The reason for the defect is irrelevant to the courts. It matters only that the plaintiff can prove that the product was defective and was the cause of injury.
A company faced with a product liability lawsuit can defend themselves by arguing either modification or assumption of risk. In the former case, the company would seek to establish that the customer changed the product in some way after purchase. The other option is to make the case that whatever activity caused the injury is something that was inherently risky in of itself.
In either case, the defense essentially boils down to arguing that although the defect might have existed, it was not the cause of the plaintiff’s injuries.
Winning won’t be easy
Even if you didn’t alter the product or engage in any obviously risky behavior, proving a manufacturing defect is not easy. The accident that caused your injuries may have rendered the product unrecognizable. Obtaining evidence about a company’s manufacturing process is far from easy and it requires a knowledgeable attorney who knows where to begin.