Product liability cases are some of the most visible and conspicuous court cases in the country. That's because product liability cases feature products that many Americans use on a daily basis. But far from being mundane and innocuous objects, these products can injure or kill their users. Everyone has an interest in avoiding a dangerous product and making sure justice is served when a product does injure or kill, which is why these cases receive so much attention. There are three types of product liability defects that create a legal liability issue for the manufacturer or supplier.
Manufacturing defects occur during the assembly of the product when improper manufacturing causes the product to depart from its intended design. For example, several lawsuits were filed against General Motors in 2014 because of a manufacturing flaw that caused ignition switches to malfunction and shut the engine off while the car was being driven. This manufacturing defect was the cause of at least 13 deaths. The case was settled for $120 million. In this type of lawsuit, the plaintiff and their product liability attorney must prove that there was a manufacturing flaw that caused it to become defective and injurious.
This type of defect is an inherent flaw or safety issue that is present in the design of the product before it even goes to production. A famous design defect case took place in 2015 when a family sued Chrysler after the death of their child. The child was killed when the family's 1999 Jeep Cherokee's rear-mounted fuel tank ruptured after an impact. The plaintiff argued the fuel tank design was flawed and won the case. In this type of lawsuit, some states require that the plaintiff provide proof that a reasonable alternative design was available.
This type of product liability case involves products that are improperly marketed or insufficiently labeled or contain bad instructions or inadequate safety warnings. In one famous example, NBA player Francisco Garcia filed one of the most famous marketing defect lawsuits against exercise ball manufacturer, Ledraplastic. Garcia was lifting weights while using the Ledraplastic ball when it burst, causing him serious injury including a fractured forearm. He and his attorneys claimed the ball was marketed to withstand 600 pounds of pressure but burst when Garcia was carrying only 180 pounds. Garcia settled with the maker of the exercise ball for millions of dollars in damages and lost wages.
Talk to a product liability attorney for more information about any of these things.