What are the three types of defective products?

If you are a Kentucky consumer injured by a defective product, you may not realize that you have the right to file a lawsuit against the product’s manufacturer, assembler, wholesaler and retailer to recover the cost of your medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering. As FindLaw explains, a defective product is one that does not meet the ordinary expectations of the consumers who buy and/or use it.

Products liability law varies from state to state since there is no federal standard. In addition, Kentucky and other states have commercial statutes containing product liability warranty rules that are modeled on the Uniform Commercial Code.

Defective product types

A product can be defective in one of the three following ways:

  • Design defect – The whole product line is unsafe and therefore defective due to its design.
  • Manufacturing defect – The product line’s design is safe, but somewhere in its manufacturing or assembly process, something happened to make this particular product defective.
  • Marketing defect – The product’s design was safe, as was its manufacture and assembly, but something happened somewhere in the marketing process to make the product unsafe, such as improper labeling or insufficient instructions or safety warnings.

Lawsuit theories

When you bring a products liability suit, you sue the responsible parties under a theory of negligence, strict liability, breach of warranty or a combination of two or all three. Under the negligence theory, you are alleging that someone somewhere in the product’s design, manufacturing and distribution process failed to use reasonable care.

Under the strict liability theory, you need not prove that someone was negligent. Oftentimes the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur applies. This means that the very fact that the product injured you in and of itself proves that it was defective and that someone therefore was negligent. At this point the burden of proof shifts to the defendant to show that (s)he and/or it was not negligent. If the product that injured you came with a warranty, you also can sue for breach of warranty; that is, the product failed to meet the guarantees set out in the warranty.

As a consumer, you have the right to expect the products you buy and use to perform in the way that their manufacturer and retailer said they would. Products liability law gives you the means and methodology by which you can recover your losses when they fail to do so. This is general information only and not intended to provide legal advice.