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How Reliable Are Manufactured Products?

One concern of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is the reliability of manufactured products. The reliability of a product is very important, as it can determine whether a product is consistently safe for consumers’ use. By definition, the reliability of a manufactured product is the probability that it will perform satisfactorily for a specified period of time under stated use conditions.

But, just how reliable are the products we buy and use, on average?

Understanding a Product’s “Failure Rate”

The FDA often uses a unit of measurement known as the “failure rate” to determine the reliability of manufactured products. The failure rate estimates the average time the product will operate before a failure occurs. In general, the failure rate occurs in three different periods of life for the product:

  • Period 1, infant mortality: These failures are initially high and then decrease rapidly. These errors may occur due to factors such as weak components, manufacturing flaws, and more.
  • Period 2, useful life: During the “useful life” of the product, the failure rate is relatively constant and low. Failures during this stage are mostly caused by stress, such as temperature, torque, humidity, and more. It should be expected that a product will be the most reliable during this phase.
  • Period 3, wearout: Product failures increase rapidly during this stage as the product experiences general deterioration with time or use. Failures are more expected at this stage of the product’s life.

When we purchase products, we expect them to work correctly during Periods 1 and 2. While product liability cases may be viable if a defect occurs during Period 3, it can be more difficult to prove that the defect was caused by a design, manufacturing, or marketing defect as opposed to user error.

On the other hand, a failure occurring in Periods 1 and 2 indicate that the product had some kind of inherent defect that caused it to fail during the most important periods of its life. Such failures are unacceptable and can seriously harm consumers, particularly if the affected products are already hazardous in nature, such as vehicles or home appliances.

At Shoop | A Professional Law Corporation, our experienced product liability attorneys can investigate your claim and help you recover maximum possible compensation. We know the devastating consequences that a product defect can have on consumers, and we’re here to help you through it.

Call Shoop | A Professional Law Corporation at (866) 884-1717 to schedule a free consultation.