A design defect product liability lawsuit must prove that there is something about the design that was “unreasonably dangerous”. A good example of this would be a child safety seat that is designed so that a child that was using it correctly would have a harness around their neck in a dangerous way. Many cases of this sort involve medical devices that are defective or used incorrectly, such as vaginal mesh lawsuits, Pradaxa lawsuits or Stryker hip implant lawsuits.
In a design defect case, as opposed to a manufacturing defect or marketing defect, the burden is on the injured person to prove that, more likely than not a safer design was available and the defective product was the “producing cause” of the personal injury, property damage or death.
“Safer Alternative Design” means that there is a product designed other than the one that was actually used. It must be shown that the safer alternative in reasonable probability:
- would have prevented, or significantly reduced, the risk personal injury, property damage, or death without substantially impairing the product’s utility,
- was feasible, both economically and technologically, when the defective product left the control of either the manufacturer or the seller
- the feasibility was possible by the application of either existing or reasonably achievable scientific knowledge at the time of production.