Unsafe or Defective Design

A design defect refers to a product design that was not in its original form. Design defects are typically the foundation for product liability and defective products claims. A design defect would mean that the whole production for the product may be faulty. A plaintiff can pursue a settlement if the product design is defective and is shown to cause injury or financial hardship.

The manufacturer’s obligation for design defect happens if the product design leads to an imminent risk of injury, assuming the product was used for its intended purpose.

To prove defective product design plaintiffs must show:

  • The product was used for its intended purpose
  • The product design is dangerous when used for its purpose
  • The manufacturer did not correctly adhere to the product design, resulting in danger to consumers
  • The proper design of the product would have made it much safer to use
  • The plaintiff suffered an injury or loss because of the alternative design

Examples of product design defects include:

  • Poor product structure, such as an uneven bar stool resulting in injury to a patron as a result of the unbalanced structure
  • Products that may be toxic without proper mechanisms to contain the fumes
  • Products that may be flammable without correct design to prevent the fire
  • Mechanical design errors that cause unsafe unbalances, such as in vehicles
California Product Liability and Strict Liability

Some manufacturers may try to use product labels and warning labels to shield them from responsibility; however, a product with an inherently dangerous design, is still subject to liability. In the state of California, product liability is held to the standard of strict liability. This means that a defendant, or in these cases of product liability, a manufacturer, may be found liable whether or not there was any direct negligence. Essentially, the strict liability doctrine mandates that manufacturers have an implied responsibility for the safety of their products and can be held liable for wrongdoing.

Design defects can be the most expensive to fix for manufacturers. To avoid future liability, the manufacturer has to go back and completely overhaul the design of the product. Sometimes, companies may decide paying out claims is a risk they are willing to take, instead of revamping their design. Bridgewater Law Group has witnessed this depravity by companies, and we are prepared to fight them and to fight for justice for your pain and suffering.

Pursuing Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are awarded as a means of punishing extremely reckless or intentional manufacturing processes. To be awarded punitive damages proof must be shown that the defendant acted in a malicious, reckless, fraudulent, or deliberate manner.

The Product Must Have Been Used as it was Intended

Companies may try to point blame at consumers, arguing they did not use the product for the intended use. They can then use this to turn the tables on the consumer and argue negligence at the hands of the plaintiff.

Other types of negligence companies can argue include:

Contributory Negligence

Common law states that if a person was injured in part due to his or her negligence, the injured party might not collect any damages, such as financial compensation from another party who, theoretically, caused the incident. Basically, a severely injured person who was only slightly negligent, could not win a judgment against a negligent defendant.

Comparative Negligence

This concept is applied in accident cases to determine fault and damages due to the negligence of all parties directly connected to the product. Some states have deemed this unfair, but California has adopted this view. It may be used to deny recovery to any party whose negligence led to the accident in any way.

How an Attorney can Help

Big business can be powerful and difficult to fight, but we at Bridgewater Law Group know how big companies operate and how to fight them. We know what it takes to go up against them and hold them accountable. We will not stop until you receive justice and the best settlement is on the table to offer acceptable compensation for your medical treatment and the disruption to your life. There is no fee to you, unless we win. Give us a call for a free consultation to find out if you have a case.

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