Types of Product Defect
To claim damages, the plaintiff needs to prove that the product had some defect or hazard that caused injury, and the defendant is liable to pay damages for the same. There are three kinds of a product defects, which are as follows:
Manufacturing Defect: This kind of defect occurs in the product at the time of production or construction of a product or in the course of an assemblage of the product. It may be an unintentional mistake on the part of the manufacturer or the company but may result in highly dangerous products. Few manufacturing defects are faulty screws, medicines, food items containing contaminated or poisonous substances, etc.
Design Defect: It is an inherent defect and can be unreasonably dangerous to use. A company knowingly continues to manufacture the product; when a foreseeable risk was present regarding a design defect, it will be held liable. A few examples of design defects can be sunglasses failing to protect from UV rays, a cup melting at the bottom when hot beverages are poured in it, etc.
Marketing Defect: This type of defect results from failure to provide adequate warning or instructions regarding the usage of the product. A marketing defect may occur due to improper labeling, insufficient safety warnings, etc.
Liability for Product Defect
To recover damages from the injury caused to the plaintiff, the lability needs to be proved. A plaintiff can rely on the following liabilities:
Negligence: To recover damages under tort of negligence, the plaintiff needs to prove the following:-
The manufacturer had a duty towards the plaintiff
The manufacturer breached that duty
The breach of the duty caused actual injury to the plaintiff
The breach was also the cause of proximate cause of the injury
The plaintiff suffered damages due to negligence.
Misleading or Inadequate Information: The product’s defect results in the injury, the cause of the injury does not need to depend upon the misleading information.
Warranty of Product: A product warranty may be express or implied; if a seller makes certain representations regarding the quality of the product expressly and the product does not stand such quality, the seller will be held liable for breach of express warranty.
Strict Liability: Even if the manufacturer or supplier took care and precaution regarding the product, but the product was defective and caused harm to the plaintiff, the manufacturer, or the supplier will be held liable.
Defenses to Avoid Product Liability
A defendant in a product liability suit may apply certain defenses to escape the liability of damages, such few defenses are the following:
The most common defense exercised by the defendant is that the plaintiff misused the product in a manner that was not foreseeable by the defendant manufacturer.
The other defense a defendant can take is the plaintiff’s assumption of the risk associated with the product, which means that the plaintiff was negligent in using the product. Certain products are dangerous in using themselves. Therefore the plaintiff should have exercised caution in use.
The plaintiff needs to justify the reliance on the seller’s statement about the product; if it is not done, the defendant will not be held liable for the breach of warranty claims.
The defendant will not be held liable for the injury caused due to the lapse of the prescribed time, if the plaintiff does not bring the action.
Other defenses may include mishandling of product by the plaintiff, plaintiff’s ignorance regarding the product’s warning or instructions, which led to its breakage or being defective.
Whereas at times plaintiff though knowing about the product’s defect, yet decides to use it, will limit the defendant’s recovery.
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