The tightening of product liability (PL) law and the growth of consumer demand for product safety make PL a critical issue of business management. In this paper, we establish an effective PL prevention plan by analyzing representative PL cases in Korea, the United States, and Japan. We consider the type of product, the type of defect, the cause of defects, and the results of PL lawsuits. Most PL problems are due to manufacturing defects. Damage and defects are uniformly distributed over various types of products. The analysis results indicate that we should not be limited to issues of product safety. We should also consider a responsible PL prevention plan that can protect consumers from risk of damage. In preventing design defects, we should give special consideration to the technical and legal aspects of a design review so that we can improve the conventional prevention plans. Manufacturing defects should be prevented through a product safety review tailored to the product characteristics. Moreover, we endeavor to prevent instruction defects by analyzing the characteristics of the environment in which a product is used. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.