When is a product considered defective?

People can claim that a product is defective by design, manufacturing or its label, if it has caused physical harm.

In 2012, the Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a report that indicated thousands of people across the United States, including Atlanta, were injured by products. The report showed that small kitchen appliances had caused over 55,000 injuries, manual workshop tools caused more than 136,000 injuries, toys caused over 253,000 injuries and nursery equipment was connected to more than 102,000 injuries.

In order for a product to be considered defective, it must meet the requirements of at least one of three defective classifications.

Defective by design

The design of a product will have a great influence over how effective it is. A badly designed product can put consumers at risk of serious injury, but proving a design defect is not always easy to do. Cornell University Law School's Legal Information Institute states that a "hypothetical alternative design that would be safer than the original design" must be shown as proof that the product is defective under this classification.

Earlier this year, the design changes made to a duodenoscope by manufacturer Olympus Corp. could be responsible for the outbreak of a super bug that killed 2 patients. According to Fierce Healthcare, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration stated that the approved design had been changed without the agency's knowledge or approval. The medical equipment was found to contain harmful bacteria after it was cleaned by hospital staff.

Defective by manufacture

Once a product is designed and receives approval, that design must then be created. This can lead to what is known as a manufacture defect. A manufacture defect can be caused by the type of material used in the product, how the product was assembled or even if the product's design was changed by the manufacturer.

Hundreds of women harmed by vaginal mesh implants have claimed in lawsuits that the material used to make the implants caused injury and pain to them. Defective materials are often cited in cases involving auto parts, medical devices and toys. Lead has been found in numerous household products manufactured in China, posing serious risk to the health of consumers.

Defective by label

If people pick up a product, they will find a great deal of information on the packaging label of that product. This is because the FDA requires companies to provide consumers with information relating to any risks the products pose. Shampoos often have instructions to keep the product away from the users' eyes, cleaning products warn of harmful fumes and provide information on the correct way to use the products, and electrical products come with small booklets that tell the consumers of electrical shock risks and where the products should not be placed.

However, despite all of that information, sometimes a company is aware that their product could cause harm and then neglects to inform the public. This is often cited in cases involving pharmaceutical drugs that have allegedly led to serious injury or even death.

Proving that a product is defective can be a complicated process that involves the use of experts in that industry, the gathering of supporting documentation and other methods. Therefore, people in Georgia who believe that they were injured by a defective item may want to talk to a personal injury attorney with experience in these matters.