Types of Defective Product Liability Claims

3 Types of Defective Product Litigation

Learn the 3 types of defective product liability claims:

  • manufacturer mistake
  • dangerous product design
  • failure to adequately warn.

You may have a defective product liability claim if you have been injured or suffered other damages because of a product you used.

3 categories of product liability

Though the range of defective product cases is broad, the claims typically fall into 3 categories of product liability:

  1. Defective manufacture
  2. Defective design
  3. Failure to provide adequate warnings or instructions 

Understanding these categories will help you determine whether you have a valid claim and the strategy to use in presenting your case.

Every state has the same straightforward rules for fundamental defective product claims, as outlined below.

Remember that for each of these claims, you must show that the product was flawed and that the fault caused your harm.

Defective Manufactured Products

Perhaps the most obvious type of product liability claim is when the injury-causing product was defectively manufactured.

A defective product is one that was made incorrectly, usually because of an error during the manufacturing process.

As a result, the hazardous product is distinct from other items on the shelf.


In each case, a manufacturing defect must have caused the injury.

In Aviation, defective software or mechanical parts can lead to aircraft crashes and major airline disasters.

Defect product litigation can be part of helicopter crash investigations.

So, if you misjudged a curve, drove off the road, and injured yourself while riding on the moped with the missing brake pads mentioned above, you would only have a manufacturing defect claim if you could show that the missing brake pads were not your poor steering caused your accident.

Defectively Designed Products

In the second product liability category, a product’s design is inherently dangerous or defective.

Claims of defective design occur when an entire line of products is dangerous, not because of an error during the manufacturing process.

Even if the injury-causing product was made perfectly according to the manufacturer’s specifications, these claims could still be brought against them.


Here again, the injury must have been caused by the defective design.

Failure to Provide Adequate Warnings or Instructions

The third category of product liability allegation is a failure to give warnings or explicit directions about the right way to use the product.

Failure-to-warn claims happen when a user isn’t aware of the risks associated with using a product or they don’t know how to handle it properly.


  • Cough syrup that does not contain a warning label about the possible dangerous side effects of taking it with another commonly used drug, such as Tylenol.
  • The poisonous paint-removing chemical is available without adequate safe handling and usage instructions.

The victim must have been caused due to the negligence to either warn or adequately train.

Comparing the Three Types of Product Liability Claims

Claims involving pharmaceutical drugs provide a useful way of comparing the 3 types of product liability claims.

If you got the wrong bottle of cough syrup and it poisoned you, your claim would be based on a manufacturing flaw.

If you suffered a heart attack after taking the identical brand of untampered-with cough syrup because of its usual components, your claim would be founded on a design flaw.

Finally, if the cough syrup was prepared correctly and is generally safe to consume, but you were harmed because the label failed to warn you that such a combination is hazardous, your claim would be based on a failure to warn.

Mass Torts From Defective Products