Design Defects

Michigan Product Liability Lawyers Advising Consumers in Grand Rapids, Traverse City, and Detroit

Consumers expect that the products that they buy are properly designed and safe for use. Unfortunately, many products are designed defectively, and these defects cause numerous injuries each year. If you are hurt due to flaws in an item’s design, you should consult the experienced Detroit, Traverse City, and Grand Rapids product liability attorneys at Neumann Law Group. These cases can be challenging and often require an expert. Each year for the past several years, our principal, Kelly Neumann, has regularly secured more than $3 million in judgments or settlements for personal injury cases.

Pursuing Damages for Design Defects

Design defects are flaws in the intended design of a product that make it unreasonably dangerous. A defective design is just one type of actionable product defect. The other two actionable defects are marketing and manufacturing defects. Generally, design defects exist in all items in a particular product line because the defect is an intentional aspect of the plans and specifications, not a mistake in how the product was made or marketed.

An example of an actionable design defect in a product liability lawsuit could be a car with a design flaw that makes it prone to tipping over during normal driving conditions. If the vehicle’s design is inherently unstable and poses a risk of rollover accidents, resulting in injuries or death to occupants, it may be considered a design defect. In such a case, if a plaintiff can demonstrate that the design flaw was a substantial factor in causing the injuries and that a reasonable alternative design could have prevented the harm without compromising the product’s utility, they may have grounds for a product liability lawsuit based on a design defect.

A manufacturer cannot avoid liability for a defective design by simply putting a warning label on a product, but generally if the government has authorized a particular warning label for use and it is used, the product’s design will not be considered defective. A plaintiff must not only prove a defect but also show that the defect existed when the product left the defendant and that his or her injury was a foreseeable result of the defect.

Typically, plaintiffs in Michigan rely on a negligence theory in design defect cases. A court examining a claim of negligence uses a risk-utility analysis, weighing whether the degree of risk involved in the actual design outweighed the reasonableness of an alternative design at the time of manufacture. Manufacturers have a legal duty to the consumer to market a product that is safe when it is used as intended. In Michigan, there is no continuing duty to repair and recall a product once it has been released into the market, although there is an exception for latent manufacturing defects, which can be demonstrated with the help of a skilled attorney.

In product liability lawsuits, there is a rebuttable presumption that the designer, manufacturer, or seller is not liable if at the time of sale, the aspect of the product that allegedly harmed the plaintiff was in compliance with standards set forth in a state or federal statute, or regulations or standards promulgated by an agency responsible for reviewing its safety. The standards must be relevant to the event that caused the injury or death that is the subject of the lawsuit. With the help of a qualified plaintiff’s attorney this presumption can be rebutted and damages may be awarded even when a product met the regulatory standards at the time of its manufacture.

Contact a Product Liability Attorney in Traverse City, Grand Rapids, or Detroit

Unfortunately, products that have flawed designs may cause serious harm to consumers who use them. People who are injured in these situations have legal rights to assert. If you are the victim of a design defect, the Detroit, Grand Rapids, and Traverse City product liability lawyers at Neumann Law Group may be able to help you recover damages. We represent injured Michigan consumers in Petoskey, Warren, Holland, Midland, Muskegon, Saginaw, Wyoming, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Flint, Ann Arbor, and communities throughout the Upper Peninsula, as well as in Massachusetts, New York, and California. Contact us at 800-525-NEUMANN or via our online form for a free consultation with an injury attorney.

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