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What constitutes a defective product under Illinois law?

Products liability law is a field of legal theory that attempts to protect consumers from products they purchase. It is generally accepted that manufacturers have a duty to prevent products that they introduce into the marketplace from containing defects in their design or manufacture that pose unreasonably dangerous risks to the public.

Without getting too complicated, there are generally three ways in which a manufacturer could incur liability for defective and unreasonably dangerous products. The first way is probably the most well-known. This is usually a particular manufacturing flaw in a product that has left a factory or other manufacturing facility. A good example of this type of defect might be automobile brakes that contain fasteners that disintegrate soon after installation.

The second type of defect is usually related to the design of a product. In other words, even if these types of products are manufactured flawlessly they still contain qualities that make them unreasonably dangerous under normal use. Powerfully explosive fireworks are probably one of the best examples of these types of design defect lawsuits. Even when used as intended, a firework that has the capability of severing a person's hand will likely be considered far too dangerous to introduce into the marketplace.

The third type of products defects relates to insufficient warning to consumers. Basically, a manufacturer has a duty to warn you of the foreseeable risks when using the product. For example, the manufacturer of a kitchen stepstool that is capable of only supporting 250 pounds might be liable if they failed to place a warning label on that stepstool before it left the factory.

Illinois residents who have been injured or made ill by products they purchased need to know that civil courts allow injured victims to seek compensation from manufacturers. An Illinois products liability attorney can assist you if you believe a product may have contained qualities which made it defective or unreasonably dangerous and caused you harm. In some cases, injured victims can recover their medical expenses and lost wages caused by defective products.

Source: Illinois Courts.gov, "Strict Product Liability," accessed Aug. 19, 2015

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