Types of Product Liability

Most American consumers trust in the fact that products that have made it to the market carry certain assurances. They believe that these items have been properly vetted and tested to determine whether they are safe to use. Sometimes, however, a product line can be found to suffer from a dangerous defect; when this occurs, injured parties sometimes exercise their rights to sue a negligent company or manufacturer for these defective products. Below is a brief description of the three primary types of product liability.

Manufacturing Defect

Cases involving manufacturing defects target negligent actions and decisions that affect the process of physically producing a product. Often these claims center on the quality of materials used during manufacturing or shoddy workmanship. Examples include tainted medicine, vehicles that were assembled with inferior parts and children's toys made with lead paint.

Design Defect

When a product’s design is inherently flawed, dangerous or useless, consumers can bring design defect lawsuits against the company. These claims have nothing to do with how the product was made; even if manufactured perfectly the items would still be unsafe or would not meet up to ordinary quality standards.

Failure to Warn

This type of liability is also known as a marketing defects claim. These lawsuits are aimed at products that do not carry warning labels or instructions that adequately describe the item’s potential dangers or proper method of use. Generally these claims center on the argument that a product was unsafe in a way that would not be obvious to users, therefore consumers should have been provided some sort of warning about the dangers of using it.
The above descriptions illustrate the basic types of product liability, but it is important to note that in many states these are not the technical claims that plaintiffs pursue. Instead, claimants’ suits are usually based on torts or contract law. Under the former, the argument usually rests on negligence; under the latter, plaintiffs are generally pursuing breach of warranty claims. Because the details of these lawsuits can be very technical, those who are considering bringing product liability cases may want to consult with a product liability attorney. Call 800.722.9744 today to receive a FREE consultation from an experienced defective products attorney at the Law Offices of Marc J. Shuman & Associates, LTD.


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