What is Product Liability?

| Injury, personal injury, Product Liability

As a consumer, you have a right to assume the products you use every day – from common household appliances to over-the-counter prescription drugs – are safe, and manufacturers have an obligation to ensure their products meet safety requirements. When someone is hurt or injured as a result of a dangerous or defective product, those responsible for putting the product into the public’s hands, including the manufacturer and/or retailer, may be to blame. This is called product liability, an area of personal injury law.

Common Types of Product Liability Cases

Product liability law can apply to injuries related to a variety of defective or dangerous products such as medical devices, food products, prescription and over-the-counter drugs, toys, automobile parts, household appliances, as well as exposure to toxic chemicals such as asbestos and pesticides. Injuries typically fall into three categories for product liability cases.

1. Manufacturing Defects

Manufacturing defects occur because of some error or oversight when the product is being made or assembled. The defective product may be different from other products of the same design. Typically, the cause of the defect involves poor workmanship. Examples may include misapplied adhesives or fasteners; parts that are cracked or broken; or even using the wrong material. Sometimes the product itself is designed properly; however, there was some error when the product was manufactured causing a defect that can result in injury.

2. Design Flaws

Design flaws in product liability occur when the entire product line was manufactured and distributed to the public even though the product was made per the design specifications. In other words, the product was designed poorly and could cause injury to the consumer. Think about the recalls in the news where an entire product was dangerous or hazardous to the consumer – cars with faulty airbags or breaks; toys that contain sharp or dangerous pieces; or even medicine bottles without child-safe lids.. These design flaws could cause injury to the consumer, and manufactures can be held accountable to compensate consumers who have been injured. Design flaws are often an oversight by the manufacturer that result in a dangerous product.

3. Inadequate Warnings or Instructions

Consumers have a right to understand any potential harm that may happen if a product is misused or if there are inherent dangers with a product, even if used as directed. Product liability claims in this category typically involve a product that is not obviously dangerous to the user or requires the user to take extra precautions, even during normal use. These are also sometimes called “marketing defects.” Manufactures do not need to warn of every risk, as some risks are “open and obvious.” For example, if someone is injured using a knife to try to remove a splinter, the manufacturer can claim that the risk associated with that action was “open and obvious” to the consumer, and a court may agree that the manufacturer is not liable for the injury.


If you or a loved one are injured, whether due to a dangerous or defective product, or an injury caused by other means, get an experienced personal injury attorney on your side to protect your rights. Reach out to Dale E. Anstine today to learn more. With offices in York and Gettysburg, our team is proud to protect the injured across the Central Pennsylvania community. Consultations are always free, we’re available 24/7, and there’s no fee unless we win for you.

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