Product liability generally applies to things that injure people when they are “defective”. Products can be defectively designed, for example: a child’s toy with small parts that are choking hazards; or defectively made, for example: a leg on a chair breaks because the wood has a split; or defective instructions, for example: how to safely use a chain saw; or defective warnings, for example: not climb above a certain rung when using a ladder.
The difference between a “design defect” and “defectively made” is that in the first instance the entire production of toys is at issue, while in the second instance, only the single chair is the problem. In a design defect case, the stakes are high because the manufacturer’s entire product line is under attack. Experts in the field are necessary to prove liability and cases become very involved in terms of time and money. In societal terms, product liability lawsuits are important because people are saved from harm when defective products are exposed and it becomes more cost effective for a company to make a safe products.