Many people worry that defective products generally only mean a severe malfunction that can lead to an explosion, burn damage, shock damage or the loss of a body part. In fact, while the injuries can be catastrophic, they are not limited to a machinery or electrical malfunction.
While every situation is unique, product liability claims often fall into distinct categories of errors, including:
- Defects during the design phase: Whether improving on an existing product or creating a new item, designers must consider numerous features and potential issues so they can protect their consumers. From exposed screws to jagged corners, designers must carefully view the product from a safety perspective.
- Defects during the production phase: Even with a safe design, the production phase can introduce safety hazards in a product. From corners that are not flush to cut plastic that is not smoothed or sanded over, errors during manufacturing can lead to numerous serious injuries for consumers.
- Defective packaging: From industrial-strength staples to heavy-duty cardboard, many product-related injuries result from defective or poorly designed packaging. For example, many companies choose to use a plastic clamshell package to improve the product’s appearance on store shelves. Unfortunately, these often require the consumer to pierce or cut the product open. This can lead to lacerations from sharp plastic or the required use of a knife or boxcutter.
- Incorrect or incomplete safety instructions: Consumers rely on accurate safety instructions to help them prevent serious product-related injuries. From warnings centering on electrical injuries to proper handling techniques, individuals face numerous injuries that designers could have prevented with clear instructions.
Additionally, a product defect can occur centering on faulty assembly, sub-standard materials or lack of safety features. Injuries can include lacerations, infection, broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, burn damage and shock injuries. Further, the injury can often be severe enough, such as electrocution, to prove fatal to the victim.