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What are the Differences Between a Manufactured Defective Product and a Designed Defective Product?

 Products that cause injuries to consumers are frequently the subject of legal claims for compensation. These claims are known as defective product or product liability lawsuits, and they are based on the notion that a manufacturer, designer, and supplier of a product has a legal obligation to exercise a duty of care to those who are purchasing their goods. In proving a defective products case, the plaintiff – or person who suffered the harm and who is filing the lawsuit – has to prove a few different things. They have to prove that the product was defective; they have to prove that they suffered some kind of damages or injury; and they need to prove that the product was the proximate cause of their injury. Adding to the complexity of the items that need to be proven, there are a few different generally accepted types or causes of defective products that the justice system has identified. Among these are defects in the manufacturing process, defects in the design of the product, and defects in the warning or instructional information that was provided to the consumer with the product. Though the last of these is relatively easy to understand, the difference between a manufactured defective product and a designed defective product can be more opaque. We’ll try to explain the difference.

When a product is determined to have a manufacturing defect, it means that something went wrong while the item was being fabricated. Perhaps the materials that were used were carcinogenic, or perhaps a screw was not sufficiently tightened and that caused the parts to come loose. Examples of manufacturing product defects would include medical devices designed to be implanted in the body that wear down or break, or food that sickens people as a result of contamination with bacteria during the manufacturing process.

By contrast, a product whose design is deemed defective is inherently dangerous before it ever reaches the manufacturing stage. One of the most famous examples of this is that of the Ford Pinto, a vehicle whose fuel system was designed in such a way that it would explode when the vehicle was involved in a rear-end collision.  What made the Ford case particularly egregious was the fact that the auto manufacturer was aware of the vehicle’s dangers but elected to sell the vehicle anyway. They made a cost-benefit decision weighing the value of having to pay a few lawsuits versus making a change to the automobile’s design. The jury’s original award in one of the many defective product cases filed against it was the largest against an automaker at that time.

As a consumer, you have no need to identify at what point a product’s life cycle negligence took place. All you need to do is focus on your own health and put the legal aspects into the hands of a qualified, experienced personal injury attorney. If you or someone you love has suffered an injury as a result of a defective product, call the attorneys at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers today to learn more about how we can help.


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