Some equate product failure with product defect. The failed product that causes property damage or personal injury is called "defective." Some product liability lawsuits are premised on the mere fact of product failure without consideration of the operational life expectancy of the product. Courts, however, have recognized that products are not expected to last forever, and may fail due to ordinary wear and tear. In order to establish liability, a threshold hurdle is proof of premature failure. By definition, a product that fails after its design operational life expectancy cannot be considered a premature failure.

Life-Cycle Testing

When a manufacturer sets out to create a product, the design specification determines life expectancy. Drawings are created and a prototype product is constructed and tested. At some point, a production sample is made that enables the manufacturer to undergo life-cycle testing. Depending on the product—and the sophistication of the manufacturer—life-cycle testing may be performed. Such testing may actually be needed to obtain a listing or certification required for sale in certain jurisdictions.

Want to continue reading?
Become a Free PropertyCasualty360 Digital Reader

  • All news coverage, best practices, and in-depth analysis.
  • Educational webcasts, resources from industry leaders, and informative newsletters.
  • Other award-winning websites including and

© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.