Understanding the differences regarding product liability

Several types of product defect can result in consumer litigation. A customer may be responsible for the injury if the product was used incorrectly.

Countless products are manufactured and sold in the United States every year, and most of them are safe for consumer use. However, there are instances in which a customer in Oklahoma or elsewhere claimed to be injured by a defective product. In some cases, a product defect was responsible for an injury. In others, improper use may have contributed to an injury, which might have focused the liability on the consumer instead.

According to the Cornell University Law School's Legal Information Institute, there are three main types of product defect that may result in corporate litigation, if a consumer feels that the manufacturer was responsible.

Manufacturing defects

Defects in a product's manufacture can involve one particular product or a small group of affected products - such as a batch of medicine that was contaminated. A single product might have been manufactured the wrong way, due to an employee mistake, temporary machinery miscalculation or other issue. For example, an assembly worker might have accidentally missed a step in the construction of a hammock, causing the hammock to collapse under the weight of the person who sits in it, resulting in a back injury. The other hammocks in the line may not have been affected in the same way. The consumer would most likely need to provide the defective product in a personal injury claim, as proof of the defect.

Design defects

Design defects affect the entire line or make of a product. A well-known example involves numerous children's toys that were popular in the 1980s and 1990s. AOL stated that these toys, which included the Slip 'n Slide and the extremely dangerous lawn darts, were discontinued due to thousands of injuries. A more recent example was a quick-folding trampoline that injured several children before being recalled. Safer versions of the lawn darts and summer water toys have recently been developed, which may address the design defect problem with these products.

Inadequate warnings

Faulty or inadequate warnings may fail to warn consumers about the dangers of using a product incorrectly, as well as fail to provide proper instructions. A drug company may not include side effects or adverse drug interaction warnings in its instructions, creating a serious health risk. However, manufacturers are not typically required to include warnings that are generally considered obvious or common sense, such as telling consumers not to leave a hair dryer on overnight. Even so, many manufacturers include such warnings as a safeguard against litigation.

It may be necessary to consult an experienced Oklahoma City business law attorney after a consumer has claimed a product caused an injury.