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The Three Types Of Product Defects (and Your Rights if You’re Injured)

Posted on 04/15/20 by Malloy Law Offices in Personal Injury

Dangerous and defective consumer items injure far too many people. Under state law, product manufacturers may be held liable for any injuries they cause. If you’re injured because you used a consumer item that was defective, take your case to a Bethesda product liability lawyer.

Almost any consumer product can be defective, from toys for children to appliances, tools electronics, and even cars and trucks. Companies that sell items to the public are obligated under product liability laws to protect consumers from a product’s potential and actual dangers.

What Are the Three Types of Product Defects?

If you’ve been injured because you used a particular product, you may have a defective product liability claim. There are three types of product defects:

1. Defective product design
2. Manufacturing defect
3. Failure to offer sufficient instructions or warnings about the correct way to use the item

Defective Product Design

A plaintiff – the injury victim who brings a product liability claim – may claim that the design of a product is inherently defective or dangerous. It’s a claim that the entire line of the product is inherently dangerous.

Examples of defective product designs could include:

1. A vehicle model that tends to flip over due to a high center of gravity
2. A line of toys with easily-detached plastic parts that a child can swallow
3. A line of electric blankets that can catch fire if left on high

But simply proving a defective product design is not enough to prevail with a product liability claim. You also have to prove that you were injured and that the defective product design is a direct cause of your personal injury or injuries.

In a claim arising from a traffic accident, for example, a plaintiff would have to prove that he or she was injured due to the defective product design of one of the vehicles and not for some other reason (such as one of the drivers being distracted or intoxicated).

Manufacturing Defect

Probably the most common claim for product liability is when an injury-causing item is manufactured defectively. The product is flawed because of a mistake made while the product was being manufactured. The injury-causing item is different from all other items in the same product line.

Examples of manufacturing defects include:

1. Using the wrong materials or putting the parts of an item together incorrectly
2. Cough syrup tainted because a poisonous substance was spilled during the manufacture
3. A bicycle, moped, or any vehicle made with a cracked frame

If you injured yourself while riding a moped with a crack in the frame, for instance, you have a defective product manufacturing claim only if you can prove that the item’s defect, the cracked frame – and not your own poor steering or distractedness – was the cause of the accident.

Failure to Offer Sufficient Instructions Or Warnings

The third type of defect is often referred to as a marketing defect or failure to warn defect. Product manufacturers have two related obligations when they create instructions and warning labels:

1. Manufacturers are required to warn of hidden hazards entailed in the use of a product.
2. Manufacturers must provide instructions for avoiding hazards and using the item safely.

Examples of the failure to offer sufficient instructions or warnings may include:

1. A cough syrup that doesn’t warn of negative side effects if taken a drug like aspirin
2. A paint-removing compound sold without sufficient instructions for safe use and handling
3. Holiday lights sold without a warning that they may be a fire hazard if left on overnight

If a consumer relies on a manufacturer’s or a retailer’s instructions for an item and is injured as a consequence of that reliance, that consumer is entitled to full compensation for injury-related medical costs, lost wages, and all related losses and damages.

Take These Steps if You’re Injured Using a Consumer Item

Product liability cases can quickly get complicated. If you or someone you love is injured by a dangerous or defective consumer item, a Bethesda personal injury attorney can discuss your rights and options.

Seek medical treatment first if you are injured using a consumer product. No attorney will be there to advise you, so try to compile some evidence immediately – a receipt or some other proof of purchase, the labels and packaging, and photos of your injury and the accident scene.

What is the Statute of Limitations for Product Liability Cases?

In civil law, statutes of limitations are the time limits established by law for filing product liability claims and other civil claims. In Maryland, if you are injured by a dangerous or defective consumer item, the statute of limitations gives you three years to take legal action.

But you can’t wait three years – you shouldn’t even wait three weeks – to speak with a lawyer if you’ve been injured by a defective consumer product. Seek medical attention first, and then arrange to speak with a product liability lawyer as soon as possible.

Some product-related injuries are severe, disabling, and/or permanent. Brain injuries can emerge slowly to become serious and disabling. Burn injuries may leave lasting emotional and physical scars. Some product-related injuries require amputation.

These victims are entitled to the maximum available compensation. They will need a skilled personal injury attorney who knows what it takes to win that compensation on their behalf.

The Law is on Your Side

Tire blow-outs, exploding cell phones, and defective power tools are not going away. These hazards are simply part of modern life. The best advice is to follow the directions for whatever you buy, keep your vehicles maintained, and stay up-to-date regarding consumer product recalls.

The people of Maryland have no tolerance for negligent product manufacturers or those who sell defective items to the public. If you’re injured by a defective consumer item despite your efforts to stay safe, a good attorney can protect your rights, and the law in Maryland is on your side.