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Product Liability: What's a Design Defect?

product liability

As consumers, we know certain goods and products pose risks. While these risks may be associated with the types of products themselves (such as power tools) and may be exacerbated when consumers fail to use them properly, other risks stem from products which are defective and unsafe. This may mean a product was defectively manufactured using poor quality materials, or it may mean products were inherently defective from their inception and design.

At Biren Law Group, our Los Angeles personal injury lawyers have decades of experience fighting for victims in a range of personal injury cases. Because victims of personal injuries have the right to pursue cases and compensation following preventable acts, there are times when they can seek financial recoveries following injuries caused by consumer goods, industrial equipment, unsafe medications, and products that contain harmful substances. Our attorneys know product liability cases can vary widely, and have the resources to help victims better protect their rights when working to prove how a product was defective.

Product Liability: Design Defects

Product liability cases involving design defects focus on holding manufacturers accountable for inherently defective and dangerous products that cause preventable injuries. In these cases, it’s important to focus on a few key questions in order to establish a design was unsafe and to prove liability. These questions focus on:

  • The accident – How did the accident and injury occur? Was the product being used as intended?
  • The defect – Was there a defect, flaw, omission, or some type of error in the design of a product that made it unsafe? Examples may include fans with guards too small to prevent fingers or hands from slipping in between or dressers that are prone to tip-overs. Proving that a product contained a dangerous design defect is a matter that demands extensive investigation. In some cases, it may also require testing, accident reconstruction, and the assistance of experts who have knowledge of the type of product in question and what constitutes a safe design.
  • Liability – Was there a foreseeable risk posed by the product? Did the manufacturer know, or should they have known, about these risks? Was there an economically feasible, reasonable, and safer alternative design that would still allow the product to serve its intended purpose?

Questions relating to a manufacturer’s liability are among the most important issues to address in design defect cases. In particular, victims will need to prove that safer alternative designs were feasible when the product was originally designed. To illustrate this, attorneys and courts may use cost-benefit analysis to estimate costs of a safer alternative design and compare them to the estimated costs of damage that might result if the modification is not made (such as injury lawsuits, medical expenses, etc.).

Victims will have strong cases when they are able to prove increased costs from a safer design would not have had much of an impact on the manufacturer’s profits. That’s because it helps illustrate how the design flaw likely arose from negligence, and a result of the manufacturer’s failure to take reasonable steps in making the product safe for its intended use.

Work with a Legal Team that Has the Experience You Need

Product liability cases can be challenging, especially when manufacturers work aggressively to protect their brand and bottom line and defend against claims. By working with attorneys who have a proven track record of success handling defective product cases, however, you can position yourself to benefit from the resources, experience, and insight needed to conduct investigations, work with the necessary experts, and establish the elements of proving that safer design alternatives were available, and that manufacturers should be held liable for damages. This includes the economic and non-economic damages caused by the accident, such as medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and more.

If you or someone you love has suffered an injury as a result of using a consumer product, or as the result of defective auto parts, industrial equipment, or heavy machinery, Biren Law Group is available to discuss how we may be able to help. Contact us for a FREE consultation.