Defective Products: Manufacturing Defect

Products liability cases involve claims of allegedly defective products that cause harm to person or property.  The New Jersey Products Liability Act is an important body of statutory law that governs these claims.

A manufacturing defect is one type of products liability claim. A manufacturing defect is a defect that arises during the manufacture or fabrication of a product, which renders the product unsafe for its intended use.

What is a Manufacturing Defect?

A manufacturing defect can be anything from a failure to properly install a component part in an automobile or airplane, to a toxic chemical located in a food product. If a manufacturing defect causes personal injuries, the product manufacturer may be held liable for the resulting damages.

Strict Liability

Under certain circumstances, product manufacturers may be held strictly liable for harm caused by their product if the injured person was using the unadulterated product in its intended fashion and was injured due to an inherent defect in the product. In cases where strict liability applies, the injured plaintiff need not prove the negligence of the manufacturer. Rather, strict liability is imputed to the manufacturer.

Types of Manufacturing Defects

The types of manufacturing defects can be numerous and wide-ranging. The following are just a few examples of manufacturing defects:

  • Use of improper materials
  • Deviation from product design
  • Faulty assembly
  • Missing parts
  • Damage to the product during the manufacturing process

Quality Assurance

Quality assurance (QA) and control is essential in the manufacturing phase. The function of QA is to identify issues and potential problems to ensure that manufacturing defects do not occur.

There are typically three main types of defects in manufacturing.

  1. Minor – Insignificant flaws that don’t affect the product’s form or function. These are things like a peeling sticker on a machine or a tiny scratch on the surface of a product.
  2. Major – Defects that may affect product performance or render the product less than desirable. A consumer would likely return the product for these levels of defect. However, when the deficiency is simply cosmetic, some retailers label them as “factory defect” items and offer them at a discount.
  3. Critical – These problems would make the goods unusable and unsafe for intended use. These are the types of defects that lead to product recalls.

Product Recalls

Product recalls are often the first step taken when a largescale manufacturing defect is discovered. Product recalls inform the public of potentially dangerous consumer goods. The purchaser is asked to return the defective product and the manufacturer or retailer either fixes the defect or refunds the purchase.

The law affords protections to individuals who are injured by dangerous and defective products. If you or someone you know has been injured by an unsafe product, you may have a defective product claim. Compensation in these cases may provide for economic and non-economic damages. Call the Reinartz Law Firm to learn your rights and options.