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Defective Design Product Liability

January 19, 2018

By van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim

Consumers have the right to presume that a product available for use and sale is safe for its intended purposes. When a defective design causes injury to a consumer the consumer has the legal right to seek damages for any injuries. A skilled Philadelphia product liability attorney can help you bring a claim to recover against the manufacturer, retailer, or wholesaler of a defective product. Consumers trust product manufacturers to safeguard their safety by guaranteeing the products they sell do not have any dangerous defects. When the burden is not met, the consumer has a right to seek legal action.

Defective Design Elements

Product liability defects are categorized into three categories: defective designs, manufacturing defects, or inadequate or missing warnings and instructions. When there is a problem with a product’s concept or the way it is intended to function, a design defect has occurred. These are issues that stem from the formation of the product. There is a two-year limitation in Pennsylvania to file a personal injury claim which includes product liability injuries.

When a defect in the design of a product was the cause of injury, the courts use two standards to determine liability:

The Consumer Expectations Standard

This standard looks at whether the product is more dangerous than a reasonable buyer’s expectations. The expectations of reasonable consumers are the basis for evaluating the dangerous nature of the product. Factors that are considered are the product’s target consumer, the type of product, the intended use of the product, the consumer’s identity, and any representations, express or implied, made by the manufacturer or seller. For example, a reasonable consumer expects the blade of a knife to be sharp and no recovery would be likely for a cut finger. However, if the handle of the knife was sharp, this would be unexpected to a reasonable consumer and an injury stemming from the sharp handle is a valid cause for a defective product design claim.

The Risk-Utility Standard

This standard focuses on whether the resulting injury from the use of the product is severe or likely enough to outweigh the cost or burden of taking measures to prevent the injury from occurring. This is a risk-reward standard where if the harm could be prevented for less than the cost of the injury, then precautions to improve the safety of the product should be taken rather than letting the harm occur.

Hire a Personal Injury Attorney to Defend Your Claim

If you were injured by a defective product, you should seek damages from the responsible parties. We expect products to work in a reasonably safe manner for their intended purpose. When a product fails and causes harm to a person, that person is allowed to seek compensation. van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim have defended clients injured by a design defect. Consult with a skilled product liability lawyer in our downtown Philadelphia office. Product liability cases can be quite complex and require an attorney who has the ability to assess the legal and technical issues of a product liability claim.



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