What are Unavoidably Unsafe Products?

| Jun 18, 2020 | Product Liability

Certain products can pose risks to consumers when used in an improper manner. Despite these dangers, they remain useful enough for their manufacture and sale to continue. Yet, businesses that produce these products can face liability lawsuits from injured parties. If this happens to your company, it is crucial to understand whether your products are unavoidably unsafe, rather than defective.

Potential for risk

Unavoidably unsafe products differ from defective products because their proper use carries inherent risks. Many of these products do not have safer or more suitable alternatives. And users may find their risks insignificant when compared to their utility. These products include:

  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Kitchen knives
  • Guns
  • Cleaning solutions

If your business manufactures an unavoidably unsafe product, you must make users aware of its dangers. In doing so, you need to warn them about the potential hazards or side effects on the product’s label. You must also provide accurate, appropriate directions so that consumers can use the product in the safest manner possible.

Limit to liability

If your company produces unavoidably unsafe products, your liability is likely limited. Yet, this may not prevent a harmed user from pursuing legal action against you. Keep in mind, though, that the user undertook an inherent risk by using your product. And if your business provided proper directions and labeling, the user must prove that the harm stemmed from the product’s defectiveness rather than their own negligence. But your company could shoulder responsibility if your product does turn out to have obvious defects, such as:

  • Improper instructions
  • Manufacturing flaws
  • Design flaws

While your business likely aims to make products as safe as possible, what you are producing might still carry built-in risks. In this case, it is crucial to take extra precautions in manufacturing, marketing and labeling your products. And by treating your product as unavoidably unsafe, you improve your chances of avoiding liability in the future.