When someone suffers injuries as a result of a defective or dangerous product, the potential defendants that may be held liable range from the company that designed the product to the manufacturer and even the retailer. Product liability cases involving product defects can arise from defects in manufacturing or defects in the product’s design. Manufacturing defect cases involve a defect in a product caused when the product was not manufactured according to its intended design. In contrast, design defect cases involve a defect in a product caused when the product’s design was unreasonably dangerous. There can also be marketing defects in cases in which there was an insufficient warning of the product’s dangers.
In an Illinois defective design case, a plaintiff must prove that the product had an unreasonably dangerous condition, the condition existed when the product left the defendant’s control, and the condition caused the plaintiff’s injuries. There are different tests courts use to determine whether a product is “unreasonably dangerous.” Under the consumer-expectation test, the question is whether a product failed to perform as safely as an ordinary consumer would expect. In contrast, under the risk-utility test, the question is whether a product’s risks outweighed its benefits. The risk-utility test considers a number of different factors, including the feasibility of alternate designs, whether the design conformed to industry standards, the utility of the product, the likelihood of injury, and the manufacturer’s ability to eliminate the unsafe condition.