Product Liability Explained: Manufacturing Defects

Every year, thousands of people are injured because the products they buy don’t behave as expected. When manufacturers ship products that don’t live up to their own standards, manufacturing defects can cause serious injury. Then it is up to the courts to set things right.

Michigan Product Liability Means Items You Bought Aren’t Safe to Use

In Michigan, when people are hurt by the things they buy that is called product liability. Generally speaking, there are 3 types of product liability cases:

  • Manufacturing defects – where the particular thing sold didn’t live up to the company’s design
  • Design defects – where the thing was made to specifications, but still contained a danger
  • Marketing defects – where the company said or did something to make a product seem better than it was or failed to warn about a known danger

This blog post will focus on manufacturing defects. Future posts in this series will explain design defects and go into more details about the different types of marketing defects that can be the basis for a personal injury lawsuit.

Manufacturing Defects Generally Mean Something Was Wrong from the Factory

When something goes wrong with how your particular product was made and it causes you injury, that’s a product liability claim for manufacturing defects. These cases measure the product you received against its planned design.

Often these cases come down to whether the thing you bought was safe for its intended purpose or “reasonably foreseeable” use. The question was whether the manufacturer took all reasonable steps to eliminate the risk of predictable injury. Because manufacturing defect cases focus on the specific product rather than the design, the company’s own quality control policies are often the measuring stick. If the product you bought shouldn’t have passed inspection, or doesn’t measure up to other samples of the same product, you may be able to receive compensation for the harm you suffered because of the defect.

Examples of Manufacturing Defect Cases

Manufacturing defect cases can involve any type of product and a wide variety of problems. Anytime the way a product was made or packaged causes serious injury you could have a product liability case. Here are some samples of manufacturing defect cases, though there are many more:

  • Building materials that crumble as soon as they are installed
  • Faulty cooling units that cause a device to heat up and catch fire
  • Improper laser cutting or metal working that leaves sharp edges on the finished product
  • Pieces that are assembled improperly or with the wrong fasteners that come apart upon use
  • Flaws in tire linings that cause blow-outs at high speeds
  • Cans of food that have foreign objects inside
  • Sharp packaging that cuts the consumer when trying to access the product

Common Defenses to Manufacturing Defect Claims

When you and your personal injury attorney file a manufacturing defect case against a manufacturer, dealer, or retailer, you can expect that they are going to raise defenses to avoid paying you compensation. Common defenses to manufacturing defect claims include:

  • Comparative Negligence: That you were not taking reasonable care to protect yourself (such as wearing protective gear), so the injury was at least partially your own fault.
  • Passing the Buck: That it was someone else’s fault that the product was sold in a defective state (this often turns into finger-pointing between the different defendants).
  • Modification or Misuse: That you did something to or with the product after you bought it that the manufacturer couldn’t have reasonable anticipated that caused the harm.

There are many reasons why filing and winning a manufacturing defect case can be complicated. From finding the right defendants to fending off defenses, you need an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you understand and defend your claims. If you have been seriously injured when a product you bought didn’t live up to your expectations, our product liability attorneys at Macomb Law Group can help. We know how to make the most of state and federal safety and consumer protection laws. We will help you file a complaint to compensate you for your injury, and defend against manufacturers trying to turn the blame back on you. Contact Macomb Law Group to schedule a consultation and get our team working for you.


  • James Spagnuolo

    I began working in personal injury law more than 20 years ago, starting as a law clerk during my first year of law school at Wayne State University School of Law in Detroit. After passing the bar exam in 2002, I went on to become a partner at a series of law firms before opening the Macomb Law Group in 2017. [email protected] Spagnuolo James

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