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What Are the 3 Types of Product Liability?

February 21, 2024 | Product Liability

When consumers fall victim to faulty or dangerous products, product liability law allows them to seek legal recourse for their damages. There are three primary categories of product liability claims and understanding at least the basics of each is essential in determining if you have a claim moving forward.

Manufacturing Defect

A manufacturing defect occurs when there’s an error in the process of building or assembling a product, rendering the item different from its intended design. In effect, this means that something went wrong, and this could potentially cause the product to be defective or dangerous.

Manufacturing defects typically only affect some items in a company’s line and are not present in every product being produced – it could just be certain items that were manufactured together, but the rest of the items may be completely fine.


Some specific examples of manufacturing defects include:

Faulty Wiring: This could include anything from household appliances to electronic devices that, due to erroneous assembly, may cause fire or electrocution hazards.

Weak Materials: A product made with subpar materials making it structurally unsound differs greatly from its intended design and could cause harm to a consumer. For example, a chair made with a weak and defective support that collapses causing harm to the user.

Airbag Defects: In automobiles, malfunctioning safety equipment such as airbags that deploy unnecessarily or fail to deploy properly in a crash due to manufacturing errors can cause significant damage or injury.

Design Defect

A design defect claim emerges when the issue is inherent in the product’s design itself. This means that every single item produced contains a potentially dangerous or harmful function because that’s how it was designed.

Regardless of how well each individual piece might have been made during production, claims can be asserted if there’s an inherent property or characteristic that causes unnecessary harm or injury.


Some specific examples of design defects include:

Faulty Car Design: An automobile designed in such a way that allows it to easily roll over when making turns could result in lawsuits due to impractical and dangerous design.

Dangerous Children’s Toys: Toys that have parts that easily detach, presenting choking hazards for children, is one example of poor product design that endangers consumer safety.

Appliances Without Safety Measures: Home appliances like microwaves or ovens lacking built-in safety mechanisms (like automatic shut-offs during overheating) make them inherently faulty by design.

Warning or Label Defect Claims

Warning or label defect claims stem from the lack of necessary instructions, inadequate safety warnings, or misleading labeling or advice about certain dangers. Manufacturers have a duty to adequately inform their customers regarding potential hazards associated with the usage of their products and how to avoid them.

If they neglect this responsibility and a consumer is injured as a result, the manufacturer could be held responsible for failing to provide essential safety information.


Specific examples of warning or label defect claims include:

Failure to Warn About Side Effects: Pharmaceutical companies could face legal claims if they fail to properly warn about potential adverse drug reactions or interactions.

Insufficient Instructions: A power tool that fails to provide clear instructions on how it should be safely operated can pose considerable hazards, leading to a product liability claim.

Food Labeling Oversights: Food products that fail to warn consumers that allergens like soy, peanuts, or gluten might be present in them can also lead to label defect claims. This lack of information can lead to serious reactions and injuries for consumers with allergies.

Understanding the complexities of product liability law and distinguishing among the various types of claims is only part of your journey should you suffer an injury. If you’ve been injured due to a faulty or poorly manufactured product in any capacity, don’t try to deal with this challenge alone. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation so we can help you with your claim and discuss the next steps.