When a company prepares to put out a product it’s always a good opportunity to go back over everything to make sure a liability claim doesn’t happen. Take Nike for example, which has been synonymous with high-quality athletic products for decades. A shoe made by Nike and worn by a star college basketball player, Zion Williamson of Duke University, recently ripped open, causing an injury to the player and ending his season. This led to a conversation around product liability and how it could affect the major sports apparel company.
From prototype to warning label to the finished product, companies of all kinds that create products for consumers are all on the hook for possible defects like Nike. Any company can come under intense scrutiny during a product liability claim, which means that manufacturers should focus heavily on the potential risks across a product’s life cycle to prevent product-related issues.
1. Defects in Design
No one can really understand what went wrong with the Nike basketball shoe that led to the Williamson’s injury. It may be attributed to something that didn’t go according to plan back in the design phase. In this phase, manufacturers can perform a hazard analysis that can help determine possible ways that the consumer may possibly be harmed. This process is wide-ranging, looking at both expected uses of products and anticipated misuses of the product.
From a focus on instructions to warnings and safety features, there are different methods that can address the various hazards that all products can produce. Warnings and safety measures can help to avoid product liability or keep it to a minimum.
2. Defects in Manufacturing
A manufacturer may be held liable if a product they produce has a defective condition that makes it dangerous to a user. Quality assurance programs can include inspections or testing at those stages in the production process where defects could occur. Defects may result from components that a manufacturer includes in the product from a vendor. If the supplier provides poorly manufactured components or don’t meet design specification, this could lead to major problems for the end user.
3. Instruction Defects
Warnings and instructions are essential to the manufacturing of a product. If not properly addressed, they can be the focus of a products liability claim. Warnings can be argued as inappropriate, confusing or misleading, and can lead to issues by the user. Warnings should be prominent and easy to understand, and can even be overseen by a products liability lawyer to review that the warnings meet certain standards.
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