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What is a Dangerous Product? What makes a Product Dangerous or Defective?

When someone talks about dangerous or defect products, the law of product liability applies. Generally, products liability applies to cases brought on by injured people against those companies responsible for making and/or marketing the defective and dangerous products.

A dangerous or defective product can be almost every item that you use at home, at work or at play.  Things such as your child’s toy, your child’s crib, your recreational sporting goods, the tools and utensils you use around your home and garden, the furniture in your home, the equipment you use at the office or in the factory and yes, the car you drive, all of these things are products controlled by product liability law. Even component parts of the products that you use on a day to day basis are covered by the product liability laws. Thus, the car can be defective even though only one of its parts gets stuck. The toy can be defective even though only one of its pieces contained lead paint.

So almost every product can be dangerous or defective, but what makes a product defective? A product can be defective if it contains some flaw from the manufacturing process. This is called a manufacturing defect. The product itself may be well designed but the way it was manufactured makes it unsafe. An example from a recent case: a child’s toy was manufactured in a plant overseas consisting of three production lines. Toys produced along two of those lines contained a rounded edge but toys that came from the third line contained a very sharp edge, the machines and tooling used on the third line were incomplete and flawed. Therefore, one-third of all of the toys produced in that plant contained a sharp edge along the bottom. Those toys were sold because the importer only checked one toy from each shipment before distributing all of the toys. Although the toy was designed properly, the toys with the sharp edge contained a manufacturing defect.

Another way a product can be defective if it contains some error in its design. That is, although the product is made according to plans, the plans themselves are defective.  An example of this is the recently recalled Toyotas.  The sticking gas pedals in those Toyotas were made exactly according to plans. Unfortunately, it looks like the original plan did not consider normal wear and other conditions that might later cause a gas pedal made according to these plans to stick. To cure this problem, Toyota is adding a reinforcement bar behind the gas pedal. Those who have been injured will argue that the original design was defective because it did not include this bar.

Product liability laws do vary from state to state.  If you've been injured by a dangerous, defective product, it is vital that you speak to a qualified, experienced New Jersey/Pennsylvania dangerous products lawyer. The team at White and Williams has handled many dangerous products cases and has achieved much success. We serve accident victims in Pennsylvania and New Jersey and always offer a free consultation. 1-877-944-8396.


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