A product can become defective at any stage of its manufacture, beginning right from the design, to the marketing of the product and delivery to the customer.
Types of Product Defects
One of the biggest misconceptions about product liability is that a product must have a manufacturing or production defect in order to be considered defective. Defects can enter the product even during the design or marketing stages. The product may be designed badly for the purpose for which it is to be used. For instance, a toy that is designed for children aged 3 years, may come with small detachable parts, constituting poor design.
Defects can also enter the product manufacturing and production process. The number of product liability claims based on shoddy manufacturing have increased since products sold in the United States began to be manufactured overseas. Lack of inspections of manufacturing facilities overseas, and a less-than-stringent production safety code means that many products that are imported into the United States may not be completely safe for children to use. Some of the most dangerous products that can be manufactured overseas and used by American consumers are toys and other children’s products.
A product can also be considered defective if it does not come with specific instructions about its use. This means that consumers may use the product in the wrong way, possibly exposing themselves to the risk of injury. Product must also be tested stringently before they are released into the market. Strong testing can reveal defects before the product is introduced to consumers.
Last but not least, a product label must contain warnings about its use. For instance, if a product is generally harmless, but must not be used in a particular situation without raising the risk of harm, then consumers must be made aware of this.
The federal administration has several agencies that monitor the safety of products. For example, the Consumer Product Safety Commission is in charge of regulating consumer products while the Food and Drug Administration is in charge of regulating pharmaceutical drugs, and medical devices. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration informs American consumers about auto defects.