Product Liability 101

What is Product Liability Law?

Product liability law, also known as product defect law or defective product law, focuses on holding manufacturers, sellers, and related entities accountable for manufacturing or selling products that break or malfunction and cause injury.

As a popular modern example, imagine that for your birthday, your wife buys you a shiny new Peloton bike in hopes that you stop acting less like a rock and start looking more like The Rock. Excited to get started, you build the bike in your living room and off you go. There’s only one problem: halfway through your workout, one of those pedals, under the weight of your unquestionably chiseled physique, breaks in half, causing your foot to stab into the side of the pedal. After looking around to see whether those overly curious neighbors saw you fall off your stationary bike, you look down to see that your leg is bleeding. A lot. You rush to the hospital and take on thousands of dollars in medical bills as doctors work hard to stitch your leg back together.

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At the end of the day, you’re down a Peloton, thousands of dollars in medical expenses, and your leg doesn’t look or feel the way it did before the incident. What do you do?

In a situation like this, or any situation where a product malfunctions or breaks and causes injury, you need a product liability attorney (also known as a product defect attorney, or a product defect lawyer). Product liability attorneys like SOS Injury Lawyers will contact Peloton on your behalf and demand that they pay for the damages caused by their defective product. If Peloton doesn’t want to pay for your damages when we ask nicely, no problem—we file a lawsuit for you so that you can be compensated for the injuries Peloton’s defect caused you.

Through a lawsuit, Peloton is held publicly accountable for making a defective product. Beyond being forced to compensate you for your injuries, they will also be forced to consider putting the safety of their consumers ahead of making a profit, and to stop using cheap, unsafe materials on their bikes.

Common Types of Defective Products

The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that defective products cause approximately 29.5 million injuries and 22,000 deaths each year in the United States. Yet, companies continue to place profits over safety by refusing to implement necessary safety features, and by using cheap, unsafe materials. While new defective products will surely appear in the future, some infamous defective products in recent history include:


  • Gas Cans
  • 3M Earplugs
  • Segway Electric Scooters
  • Airbags
  • IVC Filters
  • Kotex Tampons
  • Talcum Powder
  • Zantac


  • Lacking flame arrestors or flame mitigation devices and unexpectedly exploding
  • Inadequate hearing protection
  • Sudden stops caused by software
  • Failure to deploy
  • Defects causing embolisms
  • Defects coming apart in the body
  • Contains cancer causing asbestos
  • Contains cancer causing asbestos

Who Can I Sue or Hold Responsible for My Injuries?

Generally, any company that’s been involved in manufacturing and distributing a defective product is potentially liable for your injuries. That means if you purchased a John Deere lawnmower at Walmart and you were injured because of a defect in the lawnmower, you could sue both Walmart and John Deere. Similarly, if you bought a workout bench press on Amazon that collapsed and caused injury when you were trying to use it, you could sue both Amazon and the manufacturer of the defective bench press.

While sellers and manufacturers are the most common defendants, that does not mean they’re the only possible defendants. Each situation is unique and depending on the circumstances, there may be many more hidden defendants who are potentially liable for your injuries.

Can I File a Lawsuit for Injuries Caused by a Defective Product?

Yes, if you have been injured by a defective product, you should strongly consider pursuing a lawsuit or at least contacting a products liability lawyer to discuss your options. Possible claims that you could allege in a lawsuit include:
Strict Products Liability (including Design Defect, Manufacturing Defect, Warning Defect)
Negligence (including Negligent Design, Negligent Failure to Warn, Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress)
Loss of Consortium
Breach of Warranties

While the focus of this article is on Strict Products Liability claims—which are the most common products liability claims—SOS Injury Lawyers is fully prepared to assert each of the above claims and others on your behalf where appropriate.

To Win a Product Defect Lawsuit Based on Strict Liability, You Generally Need to Prove Three Elements:

First, the product had a defect that made the product dangerous;

Second, the defect existed at the time the product left the manufacturer; and

Third, the defect caused an injury.

There Are Three Main Categories of Product Defects:


Design Defects

When a company designs a product in a manner that is dangerous, and unreasonably chooses not to implement a safety feature that could have prevented the injury. For example, if a car manufacturer knows that many of its vehicles end up rolling over when the car makes routine right or left turns but chooses not to solve the issue by making reasonable changes to the car’s design, and someone is later injured in a rollover accident, this could give rise to a design defect claim

Manufacturing Defects

When the final product that comes off a company’s assembly line is different than what the company intended for. For example, a baby car seat that is unintentionally manufactured with a sharp piece of plastic that is not supposed to be part of the car seat design, and later causes injury to a baby during use, could give rise to a manufacturing defect claim.,

Warning and Marketing Defects

When the manufacturer fails to include warnings on their product that informs the consumer of possible dangers associated with using the product, or advertises/markets their product in a manner that causes injury. For example, a bunk bed that does not warn the consumer that the top bed can only hold a maximum of 200 lbs, and later collapses and causes injury after a child weighing more than 200 lbs sits on the top bunk, could give rise to a warning defect claim. Similarly, advertising that a trampoline can stand the weight of 20 children when it can only support 10 could give rise to an advertising/marketing defect claim.

Proving that a Product Is Unreasonably Dangerous

Once you’ve identified a product defect that caused an injury, you next need to establish that the defect made the product “unreasonably dangerous.” Depending on the state, various tests are used to determine whether a product is “unreasonably dangerous,” including the “consumer-expectation test” and the “risk-utility analysis.”

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In Nevada for example, courts apply the consumer-expectation test to design defect claims. Under the consumer-expectation test, “a product is defectively designed if it ‘fail[s] to perform in the manner reasonably to be expected in light of its nature and intended function and [is] more dangerous than would be contemplated by the ordinary user having the ordinary knowledge available in the community.’ ” Ford Motor Co. v. Trejo, 133 Nev. 520, 521, 402 P.3d 649, 650 (2017). Plaintiffs can rely on “evidence of alternative designs, evidence of other accidents involving analogous products, post-manufacture design changes, and post-manufacture industry standards [to] support a strict product liability claim.” Id. at 526, 402 P.3d at 654.

Proving that a product is unreasonably dangerous often requires experts and product testing, both of which require significant case funding and knowledge regarding which experts to rely on and which tests to perform. Whoever you retain as your attorney, make sure they have a strong knowledge of which experts to rely on, and how to guide the strategy of your case in a manner that conserves valuable resources.

Are There Any Defenses to Strict Product Liability Actions?

The Nevada Supreme Court has “recognized that the only defenses available in a strict products liability action [are] assumption of the risk and misuse of the product” while the plaintiff’s “ordinary contributory negligence [is] not to be considered.” See Young’s Mach. Co. v. Long, 100 Nev. 692, 694, 692 P.2d 24, 25 (1984). Sure enough, there are specific tests that are applied to determine whether the plaintiff in fact “assumed the risk” or “misused” the product.

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Nevada Courts have also found that “a substantial alteration will shield a manufacturer from liability for injury that results from that alteration . . . . However, if the alteration was insubstantial, foreseeable, or did not actually cause the injury, then the manufacturer of a defective product remains liable.” Robinson v. G.G.C., Inc., 107 Nev. 135, 140, 808 P.2d 522, 525 (1991).

 Regarding warnings, “a warning is not an adequate replacement when a safety device will eliminate the need for the warning.” Id. at 139, 808 P.2d at 525. That is, “warnings should shield manufacturers from liability unless the defect could have been avoided by a commercially feasible change in design that was available at the time the manufacturer placed the product in the stream of commerce.” Id. The defenses that can be relied on to defeat a strict product liability claim vary from state to state. For example, in South Carolina, unlike Nevada, a proper warning may provide a complete defense to a strict product liability action.

Get Help from Our Nevada, California, Arizona, and Utah Product Defect Lawyers

Product defect claims are complicated by their very nature. If you’ve been hurt by a product that was defective or malfunctioned in some way, it is vital that you reach out to a knowledgeable lawyer as soon as you can. Failure to file a claim by certain deadlines (i.e. the “statute of limitations”) can result in you giving up your claim forever.

Whether you’re in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, Phoenix, or anywhere else in the country, we’re standing by and ready to assist you with your case. Our law firm focuses almost all of its energy on pursuing product liability cases on behalf of consumers, and our lawyers are ready to talk with you about your unique situation. We’ll provide you with a free review of your case and will inform you about your legal options and the best way to pursue a potential claim. If you believe a product may be defective, and that defect caused injury or death to you or your loved ones, call us now for a free case evaluation.