In a product injury lawsuit, your product injury lawyer must show that one of the following three types of defects caused you harm:
1. Design defects
Design defects occur when something in the design of the product has an unnecessary risk of causing injury or death to someone using it. Not every product that can cause harm is defective. Some products, such as a chain saw, for example, can obviously be dangerous if not used correctly, but this is due to their nature and not some design defect.
To prove that the design is defective, your attorney must show that . . .
- The manufacturer could have used a less dangerous design.
- The alternate design would have been reasonable financially and technologically.
- The alternate design would have reduced the risk of injury but still kept most of the product’s usefulness.
- You were injured from the design defect.
Examples of design defects include:
- Airbags that shoot metal fragments into the body when they inflate
- Medical mesh that causes deadly infections when implanted in the body
- Child safety seats that do not fasten correctly and can become dislodged.
2. Marketing defects
Marketing defects occur when the manufacturer does not provide proper warnings or instructions about how to use the product to reduce risks. Manufacturers are required to provide warning labels or statements if the product has an unexpected danger that is not obvious or if it must be used a certain way to be safe.
To prove marketing defects, your attorney would show that:
- The manufacturer failed to warn you of risks of the product that would not be obvious to a reasonable person.
- The manufacturer failed to provide instructions for safe use.
- You were injured due to this failure of labeling or instructions.
If the labeling or design of a product complies with federal regulations, your attorney would have to show that the regulations were inadequate or that the manufacturer withheld product information that may have affected its approval.
Some products, such as prescription drugs, for example, have risks and side effects by their nature, but they are still prescribed because the physician determines that the benefits outweigh the risks. However, if the drug manufacturer failed to warn about risks, failed to provide information about risks to the FDA, or a safer alternative could be used, it is possible that the medication could be found to be dangerous in a product liability case.