What Is a Defective Product?

A defective product is one that is abnormally dangerous to the user, meaning the product can harm users even if it’s used as intended by the manufacturer. Manufacturers have a duty to make products that meet the ordinary safety expectations of consumers. As a result, if the manufacturer produces a product that has an unexpected danger or defect, injured users may have a cause of action against the manufacturer under their state’s products liability laws.

Injured consumers may be compensated for their hospital bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and attorney fees. There are three ways in which a product may be defective: design defects, manufacturing defects, or defects in warning. Below, you’ll find explanations of each type of product defect.

Design Defect

Products with design defects are defective from the start. In other words, poor decisions made by the manufacturer during the design phase cause the product to be defective. As a result, products with a design defect are abnormally dangerous to consumers even if they were perfectly assembled.

For example, many lawsuits have been filed against the manufacturers of metal-on-metal hips, claiming the replacement hips are defective in design. This is because friction between the hips’ metal components can release metallic particles into the body, causing a number of complications. The injured patients argue that the all-metal design of these hips is defective, since much safer materials were available, including ceramic.

Manufacturing Defect

A manufacturing defect causes a product to deviate from the manufacturer’s intended design. In other words, the product becomes defective due to a problem that occurred during the assembly process. An example of a manufacturing defect would be factory workers using toxic lead paint on children’s toys, even though the manufacturer designed the product to only use non-toxic paints.

Defects in Warning

Defects in warning occur when the manufacturer fails to give adequate warnings about the dangers associated with its product. Manufacturers are required by law to warn users about their products’ hidden dangers and provide instructions on how to use the product safely.

For example, imagine a metal-on-metal hip replacement manufacturer knew that its product was prone to corroding in the body and that the corrosion would result in infections or metal poisoning. If this manufacturer failed to warn patients or surgeons about this danger it may be liable for a defect in warning.