After a product injury, identifying whether a manufacturer, label or design defect caused the harm may help in holding the responsible party liable.
When an Illinois consumer gets injured while using a product, certain steps may be taken in order to prove that its defects caused the injuries. There are different types of product defects that could be to blame, depending on the product in question and how it was being used at the time of injury. Manufacturers are expected to ensure their products are safe for consumers to use.
A manufacturing defect arises because of low-quality materials used in the production, or negligence during the manufacturing process. In other words, it is a problem that comes about because of how the product was made. This type of defect could be less dangerous or eliminated if better materials were used or more care went into the production.
The Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal gives an example of this type of defect with the recent recall of one of Polaris Industries Inc.'s recreational off-highway vehicles, the 2016 RZR XP Turbo. The danger for consumers includes the potential for an overheating engine, and turbo system drain tubes that may not stay secured, either of which may cause a fire. In fact, six people have been burned in incidents involving the vehicles, and one incident sparked a forest fire.
A label defect, on the other hand, is often associated with too little information on the label. In some cases, the information may even be false, but this is a less common problem. Labels are supposed to warn consumers of risks and have an accurate list of ingredients when appropriate.
Johnson & Johnson offers consumers a variety of feminine hygiene products, but, according to USA Today, the labels of their products do not disclose the potential link between ovarian cancer and talc. Because of this lack of disclosure, the company was ordered to pay a deceased woman's family $72 million. The link between talc powder and ovarian cancer has not been definitively confirmed, but according to the jury in St. Louis, the company still should have put a warning of the potential risk on their label.
Finally, with a design defect there is an inherent flaw in the plan of the product. Even if the product is put together correctly or made of the highest quality materials, it may still be dangerous for the consumer. While design flaws and manufacturer defects are similar, it is important to realize the difference between the two.
A recent example of this defect can be found in Ikea's recall of a number of dressers because of a design flaw that made them likely to tip over, reports The New York Times. There is a voluntary safety standard followed by most furniture manufacturers in the United States that ensures a dresser can have 50 pounds of weight on a drawer without being tipped. However, this test cannot be passed by many of Ikea's units, and at least six toddlers have been killed in accidents involving the dressers.
If someone in Chicago is injured while using a product, it could be because of some type of defect. In this case, it may be necessary to work with a knowledgeable attorney in order to determine the type of defect and pursue a legal claim for damages.