Last Updated on April 19, 2021 by Legal Team
What are design defects?
Design defects are defects in a product due to its flawed design, making it dangerous to use. At times, these defects are dangerous enough to cause damage, either physically or financially.
Design defects are different from the other types of product defects, such as a manufacturing defect, which only occurs in a few items due to a production malfunction. On the other hand, faulty design generally affects the entire production line, making all of the manufactured products dangerous and ineligible to use. Additionally, only the manufacturer can be sued for a design defect, not the seller or assembler.
What does the plaintiff need to prove in a defective design case?
A plaintiff needs to show that the defect in the particular product turned out to be dangerous for the consumer who is using the product for its intended purpose.
For example, if the manufacturer designs a car to be lightweight, which significantly compromises its protection during an accident, which leads to a substantial increase in the risk of death or maybe cause severe injuries. The car’s design is to blame, and therefore the manufacturer could be liable for any damages that occur.
Again, this type of defect will affect every car produced under this design structure, and therefore anyone damaged can take legal actions against the manufacturer and sue the firm.
You will need to demonstrate the defect in a court of law and prove how dangerous the design defect is for the buyers. However, not every jurisdiction considers this sufficient. At times, the plaintiff must also prove that there were other alternatives that the manufacturer could have done which would have limited the risk of unreasonable danger to the buyer. The plaintiff would also need to prove that the alternative suggested is reasonable from both a practical and economic perspective, considering the product’s primary function.
For instance, let’s take the example of the car mentioned above. To make the vehicle more crash-resistant, the plaintiff would need to collaborate with an expert and suggest the best alternatives for the car’s design so that the vehicle remains lightweight and withstands serious hits and crashes during accidents.
Moreover, the expert will have to prove that the alternative suggestion doesn’t cost more than the plaintiffs’ medical bills.
Usually, a plaintiff sues the manufacturer for design defects based on either negligence or strict liability law. The negligence standard alleges the manufacturer be aware of the product’s design’s risk and that the manufacturer did this anyhow. Under the strict liability law, the complainant alleges that the manufacturer produced a defective product that caused unreasonable danger to consumers.