When people are injured as a result of a defective product, they have the right to pursue compensation for the harm they have suffered. While there are many types of product defects, the ones with the greatest potential for widespread harm are known as design defects. What does it mean for a product to have a design defect, and how does that affect the average consumer?
Explaining Design Defects
In simple terms, a design defect is something inherent to how a product was designed that makes it potentially harmful, even when used as intended. Unlike manufacturing defects, which are unique to individual units, a design defect will affect an entire product line. This means that a design defect that hurts even a single person has a risk of hurting anyone else who uses the product, potentially making a product recall necessary.
Types of Design Defects
There are numerous ways a product could have a design defect. Some common examples include:
- Toys manufactured with small parts that children can swallow or choke on.
- Products manufactured with lead paint or other toxic materials.
- Medications with unknown or undisclosed toxic side effects.
- Power tools with faulty or ineffective safety mechanisms.
- Vehicles that will not start, or which stall while in use.
- Airbags that do not deploy on impact.
- Chairs or stools that collapse under the weight of a regular person.
- Ladders that tilt or collapse, even when appropriately supported.
What Design Defects Can Do to People
When someone uses a product with a design defect, there is a risk they will injure themselves or the people around them. A driver operating a car with defective brakes, for example, may not be able to stop in time to avoid accidents with pedestrians or other vehicles on the road. A toy with lead paint can sicken and permanently harm children that ingest the paint. A medication with toxic side effects can worsen a person’s medical condition, or even kill them outright.
What You Should Do if You Discover a Design Defect
If you are using a product and suspect it may have a design defect, check to see if there has been a recall issued for the product, which you can see on the CPSC’s website. If you, or someone you know, has been injured by a defective product, you should immediately seek medical attention for your injury. You should also speak to a personal injury lawyer with experience handling product liability matters, who can help you with your case.
Fox Law Firm, PLLC is a New York personal injury law practice serving clients throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties. With over three decades of law practice experience, they attorneys at Fox Law Firm have helped clients in personal injury cases obtain the compensation they deserve. For more information or to ask for a consultation, call our Riverhead office at 631-779-3400 or visit our contact page.