Understanding the Different Types of Defective Product Injury Claims | Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

If you or a loved one suffered a serious injury or loss of life as a result of a defective consumer product (e.g., defective air bag, defective hip implant, defective ride-on lawn mower, etc.) you may be able to take legal action against the manufacturer and/or seller of the product. You should speak with an experienced Virginia defective product injury attorney to discuss your legal options. It is important to get some guidance from a legal professional because product liability law is complex. For example, there are three distinct types of defective product injury claims:

  1. Product was defectively manufactured;
  2. Product was defectively designed; or
  3. The manufacturer or seller failed to provide adequate warnings about the safety risks of the product or neglected to provide detailed instructions on the proper use of the product.

Defective Manufacture Injury Claim

When an injured consumer files a defective manufacture claim, they are alleging that an error or oversight in the making of the product was the proximate cause of their harm. Examples of a manufacturing defect include:

  • A go-kart missing brake pads
  • A stepladder with faulty hinges

Defective Design Injury Claim

With a defective design injury claim, the injured consumer is alleging that the product’s design is inherently defective and dangerous to the public. This means a defective design claim challenges the entire line of products as unsafe (rather than claiming one specific item or product was improperly manufactured). Examples of a design defect include:

  • A model of ride-on lawn mowers with leaking fuel tanks
  • A smart phone that suddenly bursts into flames
  • A line of heated blankets that can burn a consumer when turned on high

Inadequate Warning or Inadequate Instruction Injury Claim

A claim brought by an injured consumer alleging that the product was unsafe and hazardous in some way that is not obvious to a reasonable consumer or that required the consumer to exercise special precautions or diligence when using the product. Examples of a failure-to-warn claim include:

  • A child’s medication sold without sufficient warnings in regards to the risk of overdose;
  • A corrosive paint-removing chemical sold without detailed instructions for safe handling and use.

Comparing and Contrasting Defective Product Injury Claims

Here is an example of how the facts can influence the type of defective product claim you may have. Let’s say you are prescribed a prescription medication. If you or a loved one is harmed because the particular bottle of medication you purchased happens was tainted with a toxic chemical that fell into it at the manufacturing facility, you would have a manufacturing defect claim. If, on the other hand, you took the medication and suffered massive blood clots, you would have a design defect claim. Finally, if the medication injured you because you combined it with Tylenol and the label failed to warn that this combination is extremely unsafe and potentially life-threatening, you would have a failure to warn claim.

Experienced Defective Product Injury Lawyers

Our law firm understands the nuances of product liability law. In fact, we are uniquely qualified to handle these types of cases since one of the firm’s partners is both a lawyer and a product designer/inventor holding 19 United States patents. The firm has achieved success in litigating defective product claims. For example, the firm secured a $2.5 million jury verdict in a defective product wrongful death lawsuit involving a defective Ryobi ride-on lawn mower. Learn more about this multi-million dollar product liability jury verdict here.