When an item malfunctions, doesn’t function as intended, or has defective parts, there are multiple types of product liability claims that injured parties can pursue. The three overarching types of product liability claims are 1) manufacturing defects, 2) design defects, and 3) failure to warn, also known as marketing defects. In most places, these three types of claims are not sufficient to stand as legal claims on their own. Instead, they are pleaded as part of a larger case. For example, those injured by an item that is poorly manufactured and subsequently has a faulty internal system may be able to plead manufacturing defects and negligence on the part of the manufacturer or the designer.
What Are the Most Common Types of Product Liability Cases?
To understand each type of liability, it is important to have a working definition. Manufacturing defects are often those that take place during the manufacturing process itself. These issues are typically the result of poor workmanship or the use of cheap or low-quality building materials. Design defects are usually the result of an inherently poor or defective design of a product. In practice, this means that regardless of how well assembled and sourced the product is, the defective design means that the item will fail to meet basic safety standards and expectations. Failure-to-warn defects exist in items that pose dangers to people that are not obvious when those dangers could be mitigated by public warnings. It is important to note with this type of liability that the danger is inherent to the item and is not the result of a defect or poor design. An example would be an item like a chainsaw, an item with a legitimate use, that is still dangerous when made properly.
A recent local news article discusses the recall of a defective item. In a recent news article, the recall of nearly 500,000 juicers is detailed at length. The recall was prompted by reports from customers that hundreds of the units malfunctioned, resulting in injuries that required emergency treatment according to federal officials. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced that Empower Brands is recalling approximately 469,000 Power XL Self-Cleaning Juicers due to laceration and ingestion hazards experienced by customers. According to the CPSC, the juicers have a tendency to rupture during use, striking customers and posing a laceration hazard to people in the vicinity. Additional malfunctions have revealed that the juicers have been known to leave small particle shavings in the juice, posing an additional concern for consumers.