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How a manufacturing defect can lead to a product liability claim

Suffering an injury as a result of a dangerous or defective product is something that too many people have experienced. For example, in July we posted about a product recall of artificial knee implants based on alleged manufacturing defects that affected thousands of people. This post provides some additional information on how medical devices can trigger claims of product liability.

Product liability claims fall into three main categories: design defects, defects in manufacturing, and flaws in the way that a product is marketed. In the case of the artificial knee implants, the underlying problem appears to have been a manufacturing defect that could lead the product to fail while in use.

Taken a step further, a manufacturing defect is not necessarily based on a bad product design, but rather the opposite: that something in the way the product was built failed to conform to its design standards. If the manufacturing defect leads to injuries, this helps to establish a product liability claim.

Proving a manufacturing defect can take different paths. One approach is to show that the nature of the defect could not have happened in the absence of negligence on the part of the manufacturer; this may have the effect of placing the burden on the manufacturer to demonstrate that it was not in fact negligent.

Another approach can be based on “strict liability” if the product was unreasonably dangerous as built and had not been substantially changed from that condition when sold, and it caused an injury when being used in the way it was intended.

Both of these approaches can be advantageous to a plaintiff, because they have the net effect of making a product liability claim easier to prove than would be the case in an ordinary negligence claim.

Product liability claims based on Ohio law can be complex matters to investigate and to prove, and can involve parties from multiple states. This post is meant to provide information of general interest on the topic and not to answer specific questions or to dispense legal advice. Every case has unique information that must be addressed and explored individually to determine if there are grounds to file a claim and what compensation may be available.


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