Product liability claims often revolve around design or manufacturing defects, two critical concepts in this area of law.
Design and manufacturing defects are the primary areas where a product may fail and cause harm. While they may sound similar, they are legally distinct and can affect a claim differently.
Understanding design defects
A design defect occurs when there is an inherent flaw in a product’s design. Even if it is manufactured perfectly according to the design, the product is unsafe because the design is flawed. This may lead to harmful or even fatal consequences. For example, if a car model’s design places a fuel line in a vulnerable position where it can easily rupture in a minor collision, leading to a fire, it’s a design defect. The fuel line could likely be moved to a safer location or have some protective structure to prevent issues.
When pursuing a claim based on a design defect, you must typically prove that there was a safer, feasible alternative design that the manufacturer could have used. The alternative can’t be overly cumbersome or costly and can’t change the product’s intended use.
The difference in manufacturing defects
Unlike design defects, manufacturing defects aren’t intentional. They occur when a mistake happens during manufacturing and a product doesn’t conform to the intended design. You must prove that the product was faulty when it left the manufacturer’s control and that the defect caused your injury. For instance, if a bicycle is designed correctly but produced with a weak weld on the frame causing it to break and injure the rider, it’s a manufacturing defect.
Product liability cases are complex, and understanding the difference between design and manufacturing defects can be vital in an injury victim’s quest for compensation. Seeking legal guidance can help you learn about the types of compensation you may be entitled to and other factors that might affect your claims. All this must be done quickly because of strict time limits put in place for seeking compensation in the wake of sustaining physical harm.