Types of defects in Ohio products liability cases

The Ohio Product Liability Act (OPLA) allows individuals to recover damages for injuries caused by defective products. The alleged defect must usually be the result of a problem that the defendant knew about or should have known about. The OPLA identifies several types of defects that may support a claim for damages. A knowledgeable Ohio personal injury attorney can help you if you think you have been injured because of a defective product.

Design Defects

A design defect occurs when a product works as the manufacturer intended, but something in the product’s design causes injury. The defect could be in the design itself, or it could be the result of inadequate testing.

Suppose an auto manufacturer designs and produces a car that uses too few lug nuts to keep the wheels on. At slow speeds, the wheels are fine, but if the car ever goes above 40 miles per hour, the wheels may fall off. This could be a defect in both the design and testing of the product if the problem is foreseeable for auto manufacturers.

Manufacturing Defects

A manufacturing defect occurs when a product does not function as intended because of a problem that occurs during the product’s assembly. Using the example of the car above, suppose the auto manufacturer designs the car with the proper number of lug nuts. The factory does not install enough of them, though, leading to the same problem of wheels falling off. A person injured because of this could make a claim alleging that this is a manufacturing defect.

Marketing Defects / Inadequate Warning or Instruction

The OPLA does have a section specifically defining a “marketing defect.” This type of defect is similar to a claim under the OPLA for inadequate warning or instruction. It occurs when a product works as designed and intended, but it has a hidden danger that requires special instructions for consumers. The manufacturer, distributor, or other person knows about this danger but fails to provide consumers with a warning or instructions.

Suppose a small kitchen appliance works fine for several hours at a time, but tends to overheat and present a fire hazard if left on for more than four hours. Consumers should receive a clear warning about this risk, with instructions not to leave the appliance on.

Breach of Warranty

A breach of warranty occurs when a product fails to live up to statements made in its advertising, on its packaging, in the included instructions, or by a salesperson. Suppose a fitness tracker is advertised as being water-resistant, making it safe to wear outside in the rain. Instead, water makes the device overheat quickly and cause skin burns. This could be both a breach of warranty and a design defect.

If you have questions about an injury caused by a defective product, the products liability attorneys at Spitler & Williams-Young are available to discuss your case. Please contact us today at info@spitlerwilliams-young.law or 419-863-2211.

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