Risk-utility Test Factors 

Risk-utility Test Factors are discussed in this article, with the 6 factors listed and carefully explained for your perusal.

Risk-utility test negligence

Risk-utility Test Factors 
Risk-utility Test Factors – Photo Source: https://www.lemieuxgalleries.com

In legal disputes concerning product liability, a risk-utility test is used to ascertain whether a product is making the producer liable for any disaster caused by its product.

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In cases when the producer is held liable when the risk-utility test is carried out. Thus, if the chance of disaster and the gravity of disaster under the said product design is greater than the value of another sensible design plus the diminished utility leading to an adjusted design.

In the consideration of the risk-utility test factors, courts have carefully highlighted certain factors which are as follows:

1. The usefulness and desirability of the product

In this factor before any product is said to be desirable by a customer or a consumer, it must be highly useful to society. Products are purchased by the customer based on their usefulness and their ability to be desirable.

For example, the purchase of a certain product cannot be ignored despite its scarcity, increase in price, or other determinant affecting the availability of that product.

A product has risk-utility when it has high utility to the user and society as a whole. It explains that products are not purchased based on sentiments but based on utility.

2. The safety aspects of the product

When a product is purchased, it is highly considerable to verify the potentiality that the product will not only be sold or supplied but should be highly secure and protected.

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This explains why a product is easily banned from being sold in the market due to its risk factor. Thus, before any product is generally purchased by society is a great necessity to check the likelihood of that product, the ability that the product or the degree to which the product will produce in the referee, and the possible significance of the injury or the incident.

3. The accessibility of an alternative or a supplementary product that would attain the same or a similar need and can be highly secured

This risk-utility test factor explains this factor using three facts first, any product cannot exist in obscurity or anonymity. Every product must have a safe substitute or a complementary product.

Second, all products having an alternative should be accessible to any desiring customer and third, the said alternative product should satisfy if not the same need or a similar need that can be termed as a substitute.

If a product does not have a supplementary product, then it is said to be an obscurity product which is not desirable.

 4. The producer can remove the hazardous quality of the product without damaging its valuableness

This factor further explains that a product should not be made extremely costly such that its utility cannot be maintained or managed.

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5. The consumer’s ability to shun any disaster by the implementation of care in the use of the product

When a product is used, the user should be extreme care especially if it has to do with health-related issues. The elasticity of a product can also depend on the use of that product.

If the product is handled with care, the product can be elastic but when the product is used with carelessness, the product can be inelastic.

6. The consumer’s expected or predictable consciousness of the disaster intrinsic in the product and also their capability to be evaded or shunned is based on the information gathered by the public

This information is based on the product and can be said to be clear and the product should be in an understandable condition.

Also, every product should have clear instructions to guide the customer on the usage of the said product. Besides this, it should state appropriate warnings and explain the limitation or the pros of the product and not in abstract terms but in defined terms.

Generally, in the risk-utility test, a product is faulty when at the time of transaction or delivery, it is faulty in design. A product can be evaded or shunned by the implementation of a sensible alternative design by the retailer or another distributor in the commercial chain of distribution.

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Also, if the exclusive of the alternative design reduces the product and terms it as not being defective in design, then the predictable risks of any harm should be posed by the reasonable security of the product.


The concept of risk-utility analysis has several rationales following this test. These factors have their elasticity and achieve an appropriate equilibrium or a weighing scale between the rival of producers, customers, and the general public or the society at large.

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