Types of Liability

If someone has suffered an injury or illness due to a product that was defectively manufactured or designed, they may be able to file a lawsuit for damages. This type of lawsuit is a product liability claim. Product liability claims are filed because of injuries or illnesses due to a product’s defect.

In all cases of product liability claims, the plaintiff must show that the product is defective and that the defect was the direct cause of the plaintiff’s injury or illness.

There are basically three types of liability for product defects. These types of liability are the same in all states across the U.S.

  1. Products which have defects incurred during the manufacturing process.
  2. Products with defective designs.
  3. The failure to provide adequate warnings or instructions with a product to ensure proper use of the product.

Products with Defects Due To the Manufacturing Process

To file a product liability claim that states the product defect was due to an inconsistency in the manufacturing process, the plaintiff’s attorney will be required to prove that the defective product was somehow different than other batches of the product on the shelf, or the same types of products manufactured at a different time. This type of claim will be centered on the notion that an error was made during the manufacturing process to create the product defect.

Examples of products with defects due to the manufacturing process include:

  • Tainted over-the-counter medication due to a manufacturing malfunction
  • An automobile with an assembly-line related defect.
  • Tainted meat caused by unsanitary conditions in a processing plant.

In these cases, the plaintiff’s attorney would likely need to prove that the injury or illness was the direct result of the manufacturing defect.

Products with Defective Design

To successfully pursue a liability claim that states the product defect was due to a faulty design, a plaintiff’s attorney usually is required to prove that the design of the product was the cause of an illness or injury.

Examples of products with design defects include:

  • A car that was designed with an accelerator pedal that sticks when the car reaches a certain speed.
  • An auto battery that explodes when exposed to prolonged heat.

Failure to Provide Adequate Warning or Instructions

With a product claim that involves a failure to warn, a plaintiff’s attorney typically is required to prove that the product did not include sufficient warnings about dangerous use or did not provide sufficient instructions for proper use of the product.

Examples of failure to warn would include:

  • An over-the-counter medication that does not list side effects or possible interactions with other drugs.
  • A household chemical that does not include instructions for proper use.
  • A small appliance that may cause injury when used inappropriately, with no warnings posted on the product.

When an injured individual files a product liability claim, one or more of these legal theories is usually claimed.