Product Liability

Unsafe Product Design

When some sort of product hurts you, we recommend you talk with a product liability attorney as soon as you can. The incident you experienced might be because the product was defective. But whether your injuries were caused by unsafe product design, manufacturing defect, or a failure to warn is hard to know. You need an experienced lawyer and experts to investigate the product. Call Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. at (312) 236-2900 to get started. We have experience in handling all types of product liability cases and winning fair results for our clients. You also can use our online form to request your free initial consultation.

What Is a Design Defect?

A design defect is a flaw in a product’s design that makes it unreasonably dangerous. A design defect is something that affects all of the products manufactured. The manufacturer could redesign the product and making it safe for its intended purpose.

What Does Unreasonably Dangerous Mean?

Under Illinois’ pattern jury instructions, a product is unreasonably dangerous if it’s unsafe when used in a reasonably foreseeable way based on the nature and function of the product. A reasonably foreseeable way includes the product’s intended use and common misuses.

Design Defects Can Make a Manufacturer or Retailer Liable

When you buy a product online or at the store, you make a lot of assumptions. You assume it was designed to serve it’s intended purpose well. You also assume it’s safe to use. Why would a company create a product that isn’t safe? But the truth is that many products make it to real and virtual shelves without being planned as carefully as possible. The manufacturer’s carelessness in designing the product, or intentional disregard for consumer’s safety, puts you at risk. If you or a loved one get hurt because of the unsafe product design, then you should talk with a lawyer about holding the manufacturer or retailer liable for your injuries.

What Is an Unsafe Product Design?

There are many ways a manufacturer can end up with unsafe product design, including:

The Product Doesn’t Meet Safety Regulations

Most countries require products to meet certain health and safety standards. If a product violates a health or safety regulation, it’s not as safe as it should be under the law.

The Product Doesn’t Meet Industry Standards

Over time, industries often develop baseline standards for certain types of products that are separate from government regulations. These standards might even be discussed or outlined by professional organizations in that industry. Evidence that a product is not safely designed might come from proof that it doesn’t meet common industry standards.

The Product Doesn’t Have Possible Safety Features

All sorts of products come with inherent risks. For instance, power tools can seriously injure someone. But for many products, it’s possible to include safety features in the design, like guards and auto shutoffs. A manufacturer might not include these safety features even when it’s feasible to and still have an effective product.

The Manufacturer Didn’t Prepare for Foreseeable Use and Misuse

When a business is designing a product, its priority is making sure it serves it’s intended purpose safe. The company has to consider how the consumer will use the product, including whether they’ll use it in or outdoors, how they’ll hold it, etc. But it’s also important for manufacturers to consider how else a consumer might use their product and prepare for that. If a company knows consumers are probably going to use their product a certain way, they should make sure it’s safe to do that or include obvious warnings against it.

Negligent Design vs. Strict Liability

You can argue a product had a design defect based on negligence, or you can argue the manufacturer owes you compensation under strict liability. Under a theory of negligence, you have to prove the manufacturer or other defendant did something wrong. You must prove that the defendant breached their duty of care toward you by carelessly designing the product. Under a theory of strict liability, you don’t have to prove the defendant did anything wrong. Instead, you have to prove the product was defective when it left the manufacturer’s control, and the design defect caused your injuries.

Proving a Design Defect in Illinois Court

There are two possible tests for design defects during an Illinois product liability case. The first is the consumer expectation test. The danger of using the product must be more than an ordinary consumer with the ordinary knowledge common to their community would consider. This test looks at what an ordinary person would think of the product and the risks it presents. If a regular person like you wouldn’t have imagined the danger that caused you harm, then the manufacturer is liable.

The second is the risk-utility test. A manufacturer is liable if the design caused your injuries, and the benefits of the design are outweighed by the inherent dangers of the design. It is a balancing test between the intended benefits versus the risks. It might be that the product was designed in a certain way for the consumer to receive certain benefits, and this is more important than the risks. But you might be able to show the risks were far too great compared to the potential benefits.

These two tests are not mutually exclusive. Depending on the facts of your case, we might prepare to argue under both tests. Our strategy also depends on how we expect the manufacturer and other defendants to respond. Though we might focus on one test, the defendant might focus on the other. Our goal will be to prepare for trial thoroughly and, no matter which test we focus on, show the product was unreasonably dangerous.

Do You Have Questions About Unsafe Product Design?

If you were injured because of a dangerous product, contact Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. today. We want to hear about your experience and the product that caused your injuries. Through an in-depth investigation, we might uncover evidence that the product wasn’t safely designed. It might not meet federal regulations or industry standards. We might believe the manufacturer could have redesigned the product to be safer. Based on what we find, we’ll talk with you about the process of a product liability lawsuit and demanding compensation.

To schedule your free consultation, call us at (312) 236-2900, or send us your information through our online form.

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(312) 236-2900
(312) 236-2900