In a perfect world all the products you purchased over the course of your lifetime would work precisely as advertised, would never break down, and would be free from defects. As you know, however, we do not live in a perfect world. Products do not always work as advertised, they all break down eventually, and some of them are defective. While the law may not intervene if a product doesn't live up to expectations or reaches the end of its useful life, the law most certainly addresses situations where a product is defective. In fact, a defective product that causes injury to an individual can form the basis of a personal injury lawsuit.
In the law, "torts" is the area that addresses injuries to people and property. The most commonly known type of tort case is a personal injury car accident lawsuit. There are, however, other types of legal issues that fall under the tort umbrella. Product liability is one of those issues. If a product is defective, and that defect causes injury, the victim may be entitled to compensation for those injuries. There are three basic types of product defects:
- Design defects -- design defects are often referred to as "intentional defects" though that term can be misleading. A design defect is not introduced into the product intentionally; however, it is part of the actual design of the product, meaning that it is intentionally incorporated into the design, though without knowledge of the defect, of course. In a design defect, all products manufactured with that design will be defective. Take, for example, a baby crib. If the design for the crib did not take into account a toddler's ability to reach over and unlatch the side rail, that could be a design defect, because every crib produced with that design will be defective.
- Manufacturing defects -- a manufacturing defect is one that is introduced into the product during the manufacturing phase. Usually, only a small percentage of all products will have the defect. With the baby crib example, assume that the design itself was safe but that there was a problem with the machine that attached the railings to the crib when some of the cribs were made. As a result, some of the cribs have railings that are not secure. These could be considered a manufacturing defect.
- Failure to warn defects -- some products simply cannot be made safe regardless of what the manufacturer of the product does to try and make them safe. Household cleaners, for example, are dangerous because they contain toxic chemicals; however, those chemicals are needed for the product to be effective. For these products, the manufacturer is required to provide an adequate warning about the dangers of the product. Failing to do so could form the basis for a product liability lawsuit.
If you have been injured by what you believe to be a defective product in Queens or the greater New York metropolitan area, contact SIMON & GILMAN, LLP, experienced New York product liability attorneys, to discuss your legal options.