Why a Product May Be Classified as Unavoidably Unsafe
Unavoidably unsafe products are inherently dangerous and cannot be made any safer. Consumers can't claim personal injury damages if they are injured by unavoidably unsafe products. Here are four tests a product must pass before it is considered as unavoidably unsafe:
The Product Was Prepared Correctly
The danger must not emanate from the preparation of the product; that is, the danger must be there despite the product's correct preparation. If there was a mistake, deliberate or otherwise, that made the product dangerous, then it cannot be deemed as unavoidably unsafe because the mistake could have been avoided.
Consider this example of two drugs: one drug has a dangerous side effect because the main ingredient that cures the intended disease is also the one that has the dangerous side effect. Another drug has a dangerous side effect because the manufacturer used a cheaper coloring (that is dangerous) to cut costs while it could have used a safer but more expensive coloring. In this case, only the first drug is unavoidably unsafe.
It Was Marketed Correctly
The danger cannot be tied down to a mistake during the marketing of the product. As you probably know, product marketing campaigns contain instructions for use. If a product ends up being dangerous because consumers weren't adequately advised on how to use it, then it isn't unavoidably unsafe. The danger must exist despite the proper marketing of the product.
Its Usefulness Outweigh its Risks
If a product is extremely dangerous but only has a minimal benefit, then it is not unavoidably unsafe since it would be better to get rid of it than to let it harm the public. For example, a drug that bleaches the skin but causes cancer isn't unavoidably unsafe since the danger (cancer) is much worse than the drug's usefulness (skin bleaching).
It Doesn't Have Safer Alternatives
Lastly, the court will look into whether there are safer alternative products that could have offered the same utility without the danger associated with the product. If there are safer alternatives, then the product isn't unavoidably unsafe; its danger can easily be avoided by getting rid of it and using the safe alternatives.
As you can imagine, product manufacturers often claim their products are unavoidably unsafe when faced with injury claims. As an injury victim, it is up to you to prove that the product that caused your injury isn't unavoidably unsafe. Don't just accept the manufacturer's claim at face value if you have been injured; consult a product liability or personal injury lawyer to see if they have any merit.