The overarching theory behind product liability is that consumers have a right not to be harmed by products they purchase. Additionally, manufacturers and retailers have a duty to ensure that the products that they introduce into the stream of commerce are safe for the normal use by customers who purchase those products.
Generally speaking, when a client is injured or made ill by a product they purchased there are four basic categories of liability to examine. Design defects in commercially sold products such as a fuel can susceptible to spontaneous ignition is one example.
Manufacturing defects are also a form of product liability. An example of a manufacturing defect might be that same gas can that left the factory without having a necessary O-ring installed on its cap. If the lack of the O-ring later caused the can to leak fuel and become susceptible to static electric ignition, that would constitute a manufacturing defect.
Still another form of product liability is product failure. An example of this might be a parking brake installed in a vehicle, which stops working at some point to keep the vehicle from rolling away.
Insufficient labeling is yet another form of product liability. A good example of this might be a medication that causes extreme drowsiness yet has no consumer warning affixed to its bottle.
A client injured as a result of a defective product basically has to prove that the product is unreasonably dangerous. There are two ways to render such proof. The so-called Consumer Expectation Test is one of those methods. The Consumer Expectation Test means that the product failed to perform as a consumer would reasonably expect it to perform when the product is being used in a normal and expected manner.
The second way a consumer might prove products liability is by demonstrating that a product is unreasonably dangerous using a Risk Utility Analysis. In other words, even if the product performs as expected, its dangerousness to consumers outweighs its utility. Highly explosive fireworks are perhaps the easiest example of that concept to comprehend.
Illinois consumers have a right not to be injured by the products, food or medicine they purchase. If you have been harmed as a result of product liability, depending on your circumstances you may be able to recover compensation for your injuries as well as other expenses.
Source: Findlaw, "ROMINE v. JOHNSON CONTROLS INC" Sep. 04, 2014