Design Defect

Design defect cases refer to people who are injured by a product that was negligently designed or by a defect that is unreasonably dangerous.

Responsibility of Corporations or Companies

Consumers have the right to assume that any product they buy is free of defects and was designed with safety in mind. A person or company has a duty to use reasonable care when designing a product and may be held liable when their conduct falls below accepted standards of care.

Companies often take shortcuts or fail to use proper oversight when products are designed. There have been many instances of tires that exploded when inflated, of children who were injured or died after choking on small parts that were easily removed on a toy, or of power tools or machinery that had no safeguards.

Other examples are medical devices and equipment that were designed with faulty materials or were placed on the market without having been properly tested. The type of claims under for which an injury can be brought in these cases are under product liability or negligence law.

If you or a loved one was injured by a product that may have been defectively designed, contact a Sacramento personal injury attorney at The Law Offices of Alex G. Tovarian.

Proof of Liability

Design defects are planned and are distinct from manufacturing defects where a flaw in the manufacturing process that may not have been planned led to an unsafe product being distributed. A design flaw is one that assumes that if the product had been manufactured according to the designer’s specifications, it would be safe and an injury would not have resulted.

    • Foreseeable Use


In cases like these, the injured party has the burden of proving that he or she was injured by the product and that it was used in the manner intended or in a way that was reasonably foreseeable, even if it was misused. If the plaintiff is able to prove this prima facie case of liability, the defendant must show that the person’s injury was from misusing the product in an unforeseeable manner by altering it or abusing the product.

An unreasonable defect is one that a reasonable consumer would not expect to be dangerous when used in an intended or reasonably foreseeable manner, or where the consumer had reasonable minimum safety expectations when using it.

    • Risk/Benefit Analysis


Another test used by the California courts in design defect cases is the risk/benefit analysis. This analyzes whether the benefits of the alleged design defect outweighs the risk of danger inherent in the design. This approach asks the jury or trier-of-fact to consider the gravity of the potential harm from use of the product; the likelihood the harm would occur; if any feasible alternative and safer design was available; the cost of the alternative design; and the disadvantages of an alternative design.

There are some products, though, that are naturally dangerous and that a reasonable consumer would immediately recognize such as a knife or saw. Other products will harm a person if not used for its intended purpose although a designer must take into account the foreseeable risk that someone would misuse the product in a particular way.

Damages for Design Defect Cases

Design defect cases are still personal injury matters. If you are injured by the negligent conduct of another person or entity, you may be entitled to the following compensation:

  • Lost earnings
  • Medical expenses
  • Cost of therapy or rehabilitation
  • Disfigurement
  • Future medical expenses
  • Loss of consortium or relationship with your spouse
  • Pain and suffering

Contact The Law Offices of Alex G. Tovarian

Design defect cases are complicated and involve difficult issues of liability and proof. In most cases, a large company or corporation is sued and it will fight allegations that it designed a defective product with the support of teams of well-trained defense lawyers with inexhaustible resources. Accordingly, you need the experience, knowledge and resources of a plaintiffs’ firm with the tenacity and dedication to clients such as the personal injury lawyers at The Law Offices of Alex G. Tovarian. Call us today for a free, confidential consultation and case evaluation.