How designers and manufacturers can be held liable for defects

Each day across Tennessee, another individual sustains permanent injury or death as a result of using a defective product, be it as large as a car or as small as a cellphone. In filing a lawsuit against the product's manufacturer, the burden falls on the accuser to prove what, in particular, about the product they used was poorly designed and how that defect caused the results it did.

When it comes to products, there are three different types of defects an item may have, including design, marketing, and manufacturing ones. While those related to design are considered intentional, deliberate, or purposeful because of the creative nature of the concept, those of a manufacturing variety are seen as ones having to do with negligence or production oversight.

As an example of a design defect, a chair may be constructed to have only three legs, a factor that might cause it to tip over more easily than a chair having four legs. Alternatively, an example of a manufacturing defect would be an instance in which in the course of production, a chair's leg may not be properly affixed to its seat, causing an injury.

A marketing defect is defined as one related to the way in which a product is positioned or advertised for sale. A product's packaging or instructions that fail to offer adequate warning or instructions to properly use an item without sustaining injury is an example of this type defect.

In proving a products liability case, most courts accept that a defect can carry with it an inherent element of danger. In this same vein, the idea of a product being "unreasonably dangerous" is what serves as the distinguishing threshold between what is a reasonable expectation of a consumer and what shows negligence on behalf of the manufacturer.

State law prescribes that the onus of designing and producing safe products rests on the shoulders of that product's manufacturers, sellers, and distributors. When entities fail in doing this, they open themselves up to lawsuits intended to hold them liable for their shortcomings. If you have been injured as a result of a design or manufacturing defect, consult a products liability to discuss potential recovery of damages in your case.

Source:, "Product liability: manufacturing defects vs. design defects," accessed Jan. 06, 2017

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