What are defects in design?

Defects in design focus solely on the planning stages of a product, not the actual manufacturing of the product. These cases typically involve the safety of the product. A design defect occurs when there is an error or flaw in the design of the product that renders it unsafe for use.

A company becomes liable for the defect in a product's design when there was a foreseeable risk created by the product when it was manufactured appropriately and then used for its appropriate purpose. Customers can also prove liability by showing the risk could have been lessened or removed completely if an alternative design was:

- Able to be produced by the manufacturer;

- It would not cost the company too much money to manufacture the product with the alternative design;

- The product would still perform the function it was originally created for by the company.

There are two common claims that a plaintiff can make in a design defect case. The first is a negligence claim. This claim occurs when the plaintiff claims that the product manufacturer should have known the risks of the product. The main focus of a negligence claim will be whether or not the manufacturer knew it could make the product safer or not when creating it.

The second type of claim is a strict liability claim. This claim occurs when the manufacturer puts a defective product that poses a safety threat on the market. This is still true even when dealing with products that are typically inherently dangerous, like knives. The plaintiff will need to argue that the risks of the product outweigh its benefits in order to prove strict liability.

Plaintiffs claiming liability in a design defect case can seek damages for injuries or illnesses incurred. Those damages include pain and suffering, the loss of future earning capacity, lost wages, past and future medical expenses and more.

Design defects can cause serious injury and even death in some cases. Be sure you know your rights in Nashville, Tennessee.

Source: FindLaw, "Defects in Design," accessed March 01, 2017

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