Product Defects Can Prove Costly to Manufacturerson October 8th, 2012
Manufacturers and manufacturing plants are open to a wide array of risks and exposures. Depending on the types of products being produced and sold, the risks vary, and if the item(s) in question can in some way cause injury if defective, this will likely be a major concern.
In order to minimize product liability exposure, or to defend product safety, owners require manufacturer’s insurance to protect against claims in the event someone is indeed injured when using their product.
Product liability claims are part of the field of tort law. A product liability claim is one wherein a person contends that a particular product is defective in some way and that defect has produced injury to that plaintiff.
The “No Prior Accidents” Defense
Issues in product liability claims need to be thoroughly understood. The basic principles of safe product design are:
Design out any defect to eliminate hazard so that the product is deemed “safe”
If the hazard cannot be designed out, then build in safety devices to prevent injury
Provide warnings if such are necessary.
In most product liability cases the defendant will attempt to assert that there is no evidence of prior accidents. To rely upon that defense the defendant must establish that if there had been prior accidents the defendant would have known about them because:
1. There was in place a mechanism to check on the safety of the product, and
2. Several ways to determine whether or not there had in fact been accidents involving the product
The mere fact that the defendant has shown that there is no evidence of any prior accidents may be a result of there being no record-keeping system in place to record complaints or to record actual accidents that are reported.
That foundational evidence must be established before evidence of a lack of prior accidents should be admissible. In general, in order to lay the proper foundation for a defense of no prior accidents the defendant must show:
It likely would have known of those prior accidents if they had occurred
The number of units sold and the extent of prior use
The proposed testimony must relate to substantially identical products used in similar circumstances
Product Liability Insurance May Save a Business from Total Ruin
Defective products are simply part of the downside of the manufacturing industry. In Orlando, as in any other city, it is prudent for any company in this type of business to carry manufacturers insurance, which includes product liability, to ensure that, if a lawsuit arises claiming injury from a defective product, that company will not “go under” as a result of a lack of proper coverage.