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Types of Defective Products

WireIn an ideal world, the everyday use of a product would not cause harm to the user. Unfortunately, consumers are often exposed to defective products, and injuries due to these defective products often occur. In California, a person injured by a product can use the theory of strict liability to recover damages from the designer, manufacturer, distributor, or retailer of the product, but only if the product was defective.

Design Defects

A design defect is a problem in the design of the product. Design defects occur before the product is manufactured. Even if a product is manufactured exactly according to the specifications of the design, if it has a defective design, it may still be considered a defective product.

For example, an electric blanket may be designed in such a way that, if turned on high, it overheats. If it then overheats and burns a user, the user may be able to recover in strict liability because of the problem in the way it was designed, even though there were no errors made in the manufacture of the blanket.

Manufacturing Defects

Manufacturing defects occur when products are being assembled or manufactured. The design of the product may be perfect, but if it is manufactured in a way that causes a risk of injury, there is a manufacturing defect.

For example, a car door latch may be designed perfectly, but on some cars, the manufacturing company does not screw the pieces together correctly, so that occasionally the latch does not work properly. If while the car is in motion, the latch fails, the door flies open, and a passenger falls out and is injured, the passenger may be able to recover under a theory of strict liability because of the manufacturing defect.

Marketing or Advertising Defect

A marketing or advertising defect may occur when there is a problem with how the product is presented to the consumer. Defects occur when a distributor or retailer advertises that the product can be used for a purpose for which it is not suited. Not including proper safety warnings or instructions, such as for assembly or use, may also be advertising defects.

For example, a cleaning product may be corrosive to bare skin. If warnings about its corrosive nature and instructions on how to use it safely, such as by wearing gloves, are not included, there may be an advertising defect.

Tests for Defective Products

California courts use two tests to show that a product is defective: the consumer expectations test and the risk-benefit test. A product will fail the consumer expectations test if, when the product is used as it was made to be used or as would be reasonably foreseeable, the product does not behave as an ordinary consumer would expect it to. To pass the risk-benefit test, the benefits of a product’s design must outweigh the risks inherent in the product’s design.

The unwitting use of a defective product unfortunately can cause serious injuries. If you have been hurt due to a defective product, contact the San Jose personal injury attorneys at Corsiglia, McMahon & Allard, L.L.P. for a free consultation today at (408) 289-1417.

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