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Product Failure Analysis

Product Failure Analysis may involve the investigation of malfunctions or poor design of consumer products including toys and appliances which have caused bodily injury or property damage.

In potential products liability losses involving equipment and machinery, the Engineer will occasionally be asked to ascertain whether the product or equipment contains an “inherent defect”, arising as a consequence of poor design, faulty material, improper assembly or retrofit alteration. Often the equipment did not malfunction, but operator error or poor maintenance caused the accident. This is an import an factor which must also be considered.

Our engineers have access to highly-experienced experts in fire science, laboratories, researchers and technicians within the network.

Initial Investigations:

In analyzing product failures, several important facts must be determined.

  • Mode of failure
  • Cause of failure
  • Determination of how the product was being used at the time of failure
  • Determination of similar failures of the same or similar products
  • Determination of industry standards


Failed products must be carefully inspected; and secured, however, affiliates are cautioned to perform only non-destructive testing. Invasive and/or destructive testing is performed only with all parties present. Products are photographed and may be tested to evaluate:

1. Altercations to the product.
2. Appropriate warnings, instructions and safety alert symbols.
3. Inherently defective products.
4. Improper use of the product.


Raley and Associates, Inc. affiliates offer their clients easily understood written reports stating conclusively the cause-effect relationship surrounding a particular failure. Our engineers are well equipped to be prepared for courtroom testimony with demonstrations and models as necessary.