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Understanding Design Defects In Illinois

A design defect exists when a product is flawed due to its design, making it dangerous for its intended use. Some vital legal elements to prove design defects include proving the existence of a defect present at product release, foreseeability of harm or failure to warn about risks. Using products with design defects may lead to injuries such as choking, suffocation or toxic exposure. Depending on the intended use of the product, design defects can also cause loss of limbs, orthopedic injuries, paralysis, or even death.

If you have been injured by a defective product, it is best to work with a personal injury lawyer to establish the manufacturer’s liability and to seek compensation for any harm caused. At Marker & Crannell Attorneys At Law P.C., our lawyers fiercely fight for clients in Naperville, Aurora and the surrounding areas. We care about your case because we care about you. In case of design defects, we are capable and experienced in helping you seek justice and hold the at-fault party liable.

Examples of Defective Design Cases

Any product can be negligently designed, but there have been a few types of products that have caused more injuries as a result of their design over the course of history. Here are some examples of the most commonly litigated negligent product design cases:

  • Clothing – particularly infant clothing intended for use while sleeping. These items can cause choking (small parts or magnets), or may be made out of flammable material increasing the risk of burns in a fire.
  • Motor vehicles – ignition system failures causing a vehicle to suddenly change gears or shut down while in use.  This would also include component parts of motor vehicles like airbags.
  • Power tools – poorly designed safety guards on industrial machines or power tools.
  • Furniture – top-heavy furniture has claimed the lives and health of many children over the years.
  • Chemical products – such as paint, weed or lawn killer, or baby powder have been shown to cause cancer.

How Do You Prove A Design Defect Caused Your Injuries?

To establish that a product’s design defect is responsible for the harm done to you, it will be necessary to:

  • Identify the manufacturer responsible for designing and making the product for accountability
  • Show evidence of harm or injury caused by the product to substantiate the extent of harm
  • Propose an alternative design that could have prevented the harm while maintaining the product’s utility.
  • The product’s design must be proven to be unreasonably dangerous.  This is proven one of two ways in Illinois:
    • Risk-Utility Test: the product would be deemed unreasonably dangerous, subjecting the manufacturer to liability, if the design is a cause of the injuries and the benefits of the challenged design are outweighed by the design’s inherent risk of danger. See Hansen v. Baxter Healthcare Corp., 198 Ill.2d 420 (2002); Calles v. Scripto-Tokai, 224 Ill.2d 247 (2007); and Mikolajczyk v. Ford Motor Co., 231 Ill.2d. 516, 327 Ill. Dec. 1, 901 N.E.2d 329 (2008).
    • Consumer Expectation Test: for the manufacturer to be liable for injuries caused by a product’s design, the danger must go beyond that which would be contemplated by the ordinary consumer with ordinary knowledge common to the community as to its characteristics. See Restatement (Second) of Torts §402A Comment (I) (1965); Riordan v. Int’l Armament Corp., 132 Ill.App.3d 642, 477 N.E.2d 1293, 87 Ill.Dec. 765 (1st Dist. 1985).
  • The dangers created by the design that led to a plaintiff’s injury have to be reasonably foreseeable.
  • The product causing injury must be used for its intended purpose at the time of the injury.

You should preserve all evidence to help prove your case. Take multiple photographs and videos of the negligently designed product on the day of the injury. If you can’t contact an attorney right away who can help secure the negligently designed product, after taking pictures and videos, you should move the product to a safe location where weather and other elements will not cause the product to change over time; it is important to not disturb the product as much as possible when moving it. Save all instructions, warnings, packaging, and receipts for the product that injured you.

Work With Naperville Attorneys Practiced In Representing Clients In Design Defect Cases

Dealing with the aftermath of an injury due to design defects can be devastating. With over 50 years of combined experience, knowledge of the local community and a passion for helping people, Marker & Crannell Attorneys At Law P.C. can help you receive the compensation and benefits you deserve under the law.

We value communication, so call 630-912-6009 today for a free consultation. Our lawyers will investigate your case, carefully guide you through key decisions and aggressively represent you in the courtroom if necessary.