Product liability attorneys oversee all kinds of cases, but these claims normally slot into one of three categories. Defective items may either be considered poorly manufactured, poorly designed or poorly explained on warnings or enclosed instructions. How the items are defective will determine who the defendant will be in the case and may also change the nature of the claim. Every claim, though, has to demonstrate the same set of criteria to win a settlement for the victim, and proving these can be difficult without the assistance of a lawyer.


Items that are defective due to manufacturing defects are common and can include nearly anything sold to consumers. For example, an appliance may short out due to faulty wiring and can cause a fire, burning the user in the process. A child’s crib may collapse due to inferior building materials, hurting the child in the process. A vehicle’s airbag may fail to deploy properly because it wasn’t secured correctly into the vehicle prior to completion, resulting in severe injury in the event of a crash. When a claim asserts that an item was defective due to a manufacturing flaw, the defendant will almost always be the company responsible for the item’s construction. However, suppliers might also be culpable if they provided inferior building materials to manufacturers.

Product liability attorneys often oversee claims that assert an item as defective on a design level. These claims are less common, as companies tend to vet their designs closely before allowing their construction. Nevertheless, dozens of items are recalled every year due to problematic design. This usually affects motor vehicles and motor vehicle parts, dangerous medicines, and unsafe children’s toys. For instance, SUVs have long been the subject of recalls because they are inherently more likely to rollover, even if the driver is operating the vehicle safely. This is because SUVs are designed with a higher center of gravity that makes them harder to control.

Finally, an item may be part of a claim even if it works as intended, but documentation with the item is unclear and leads to unsafe operation of the device. For example, an over the counter medicine may not make its side effects clear, leading to a bad interaction with another drug. A power drill may not make it clear what each setting is, leading to unsafe operation and eventual injury.


To verify the veracity of a claim, a lawyer needs to show that the item in question was defective, that the victim was injured, that the defect resulted in the injury and that the victim was using the item correctly at the time of the injury. Demonstrating all of these requires detailed medical documentation and extensive history into the manufacturer or designer. Knowledge of prior case law and recalls is also essential. This is a lot of information to gather, which is why product liability attorneys are usually tasked to retrieve it.