Dealing with design defects in a product liability lawsuit

On Behalf of | Dec 10, 2021 | Products Liability |

Most people do not realize how many defective products are in the marketplace. These products can leave unsuspecting consumers seriously injured with pain and suffering that can last for years or decades. The financial damages can be devastating, too. Medical expenses and lost wages can quickly mount, leaving a victim in a precarious financial position.

If you’re in this situation, then you should be considering a product liability lawsuit. But if you’re going to go that route, then you need to know how to build a compelling case, which means knowing the law.

As we’ve discussed previously on the blog, a product liability case can be proven in a number of ways. One of those ways is to show that there was a defective design.

What constitutes a defective design?

 In short, a design defect exists when the dangerousness of a product is inherent in its design. There are three types of design defects, including:

  • Latent defects, which are not easily identifiable
  • Patent defects, which are obvious and easily observable
  • Fatal defects, which are extremely poorly designed products

These defects can affect any number of products, from car brakes to furniture to medical devices. If you’ve been hurt by one of these products, then you’ll want to ask if it’s because the product’s design was defective.

Proving a defective design might sound simple enough, but it can actually be quite challenging. This is because in order to succeed in showing that a defective design exists, you’ll have to prove that a safer alternative design existed. Not only that, but you’ll also have to demonstrate that the alternative design was just as economically feasible and practical as the initial design. Also, you’ll have to show that the alternative design was compatible with the intended purpose of the product in question.

Determining defectiveness

Determining the defectiveness of a product can be more challenging than you might expect. One way that the courts analyze the defectiveness of a product is by analyzing consumer expectations. Here, the court will assess the evidence to determine if the product met the reasonable consumer expectations for safety. The court should view the product from the point-of-view of the ordinary consumer, which gives the evaluation a certain amount of objectivity. This will require extensive evidence of consumer expectations regarding the product as well as the research that went into the product’s design.

Building your product liability case

To maximize your chances of succeeding on a product liability case, you need to take a holistic approach. You’ll probably need to identify experts who can testify on your behalf, speaking to pertinent legal elements such as alternative designs for the product in the industry at hand, as well the safety expectations for consumers in of that product.

You also can’t overlook the importance of proving your damages. After all, imposing liability without a showing of damages will leave you without the financial recovery that you need and expect. This also may require expert testimony, especially if you’re going to present evidence as to your prognosis, your need for further treatment, and how your injuries have affected your earning capacity.

As you can see, there are a lot of moving parts to a products liability lawsuit. That might leave you stressed out and concerned about what the future has in store for you, but you should take comfort knowing that you can have a competent legal ally on your side who can help you navigate this oftentimes difficult area of the law. Hopefully then you can position yourself for a successful outcome so that you can turn the page on this challenging chapter of your life and focus on your recovery.