Manufacturers have a legal responsibility for the safety of their consumers. When consumers are injured or harmed by a product while using it in its intended manner, the manufacturers, wholesalers, designers, retailers, and anyone involved with the product being sold to the consumer may be liable to pay compensation. These cases may involve strict liability, negligence, breach of warranty, or misrepresentation and can arise as a result of the sale of a dangerous product, a drug recall or a defectively installed medical device. Product liability lawyers can take legal action for compensation as a result of failure to provide warnings when knowledge of a hazardous product exists, failing to ensure that a defective or malfunctioning part is not used in products, or failing to warn when a fault exists that makes the product unsuitable for the purposes for which it was sold.
The modern doctrine of ‘strict liability’ in defective product cases was first outlined in the case of Escola v. Coca Cola Bottling when Justice Traynor asserted that public policy demanded recovery of compensation for the plaintiff even if negligence could not be proven because the manufacturer was in the best position to insure against the damage. Strict liability applies to anyone who is in the business of selling products and sells a product in such a condition as to pose an unreasonable danger of physical harm to the user or consumer, or to his or her property.
There are three types of product defects, manufacturing defects, design defects, and information defects.
Manufacturing defects are present when the product is not what the manufacturer intended.
Design defects are those that reach the consumer in the form intended by the manufacturer, but something in the design makes them dangerous, and foreseeable risks could have been avoided with an alternative design.
Information defects are attributed to products that are unavoidably dangerous yet useful to society. They are only defective if appropriate, adequate warnings are not attached.