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, another good example is the 3M earplugs that damaged the hearing of service people.
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.