What Is a Design Defect?
Posted in Product Recall on February 10, 2022
Product defects typically fall into one of three categories: manufacturing, failure to warn, and design. Manufacturing errors involve mistakes that occur when the product is assembled or created, and only a certain item or batch is affected. Failure to warn claims involve inadequate warnings and instructions that lead to injury.
Design defects occur when a product is produced. Although the product has an inherently dangerous flaw, the manufacturer still sells it to consumers. If you are injured by a defectively designed product, you can pursue a lawsuit against the manufacturer, as well as the distributor and retailer.
Characteristics of a Design Defect
Many types of products can be defective in their design, including car seats, furniture, power tools, motor vehicles, and electric appliances. For example, a chest of drawers may be structurally unstable and prone to tipping over. An electric saw may have a safety guard, but due to its improper design, a user can still experience injuries.
To prove a design defect claim, you will typically need to establish that the following statements are true.
- The product was defective and caused harm.
- When the harm occurred, a safer design existed.
- The safer design was feasible for the manufacturer.
- The safer design would not have impacted the product’s effectiveness or utility and would have prevented the harm.
How to Prove a Defective Product Lawsuit
In Missouri, most product liability claims rely on the presence of strict liability rather than negligence. Under this legal standard, manufacturers are strictly liable for any injuries that their products cause. The victim does not need to prove negligence or wrongdoing on the part of the manufacturer in order to recover compensation.
To secure compensation in a defective product lawsuit, you will need to prove the following facts.
- The product is defective in its design.
- You were injured or experienced harm.
- The design defect caused your injury.
- You were using the product as the manufacturer intended.
For example, say that you suffer serious burn injuries after your shirt catches fire suddenly and unexpectedly. After consulting with an attorney, he or she enlists the help of expert witnesses who analyze the clothing item. Through their analysis, you discover that the shirt is made out of an unduly flammable material and put you at a higher risk of catching fire.
In this situation, the shirt is defective in its design due to its material. You suffered burn injuries, which you can validate with evidence like medical records, photographs, and witness statements. If the shirt had been made of a safer material, the injury would not have occurred. As long as you can prove that you did not intentionally or recklessly burn the shirt, you can establish that you used the product as intended.
Speak to a Product Liability Lawyer
If you are injured by a defective product, it is important to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible. A Kansas City product liability attorney can conduct a full investigation into your case and gather the evidence necessary to prove your right to compensation. After receiving medical attention, contact an attorney to discuss your legal options and take your first steps toward filing a claim.