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Is the Product Defective or Unavoidably Unsafe?


While using a product, you sustained an injury that sent you to the hospital for emergency medical attention. The bills will be high, and you may need to miss some work, too, which will make your financial situation difficult.

Because the injury came from the product, you may wonder if you can sue the manufacturer. According to FindLaw, if the product is defective, the answer is likely to be yes. If it is unavoidably unsafe, the answer may be no.

Defective products

You read through the instructions, and you used the product according to the guidelines the manufacturer provided, but you still suffered injuries. The manufacturer may be at fault if:

  • The packaging did not mention the risk of injury when you use the product correctly
  • The person who designed the product made a mistake that created the risk of the injury
  • The flaw occurred during the manufacturing process

In any of these cases, someone else's negligence caused your accident. Therefore, you may be able to take them to court and hold them liable for the damages you have suffered.

Unavoidably unsafe products

There are some products that always have risk attached to their use, such as the following:

  • Some cleaning chemicals
  • Certain cosmetics
  • Firearms
  • Prescription drugs
  • Medical devices

Factors the court would consider when determining if the product is unavoidably unsafe include how useful it is compared to how risky it is. For example, if the product is a medical device that could cause some dangerous side effects but your life is in danger without it, then the benefits may outweigh the risk. As long as you used the product as directed and it has no flaws, a judge may rule that it is unavoidably unsafe. If there is an alternative product that is not cost-prohibitive and does not carry the same risk but does provide the same benefit, then the one you used may not be unavoidably unsafe, and you may have a case.

While an injury from a defective product may seem straightforward, the factors affecting whether something is unavoidably unsafe may vary widely. In either case, you may want to schedule a consultation with an attorney to determine whether you should proceed with a product liability claim.

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