When customers are injured or harmed by defective products in California, they can take legal action to obtain compensation for their losses. Our Los Angeles personal injury attorneys, who specialize in product liability, can help you if you have been injured or harmed in any way by using a defective product. The manufacturer can be held liable, but only an experienced personal injury attorney in L.A. will be able to help you obtain legal compensation.
There are three recognized types of product liability:
- defective design (flaws in the design of the product that make it dangerous or unsuitable),
- manufacturing defects (flaws in building or assembling the product),
- marketing defects (failure to properly describe or warn about the product characteristics).
Examples of manufacturing defects can include broken toys, objects with cracked components and even medicine that contains substances that are harmful to the individual and should not have been included in the formula (for example one tainted batch of pills or syrup). Products that are designed defectively can include car models that show various characteristics that are dangerous to the driver or passenger (usually in these cases the manufacturer will recall a large number of cars), accessories like sunglasses that do not protect the eyes as they should have or other household items.
A personal injury attorney will be able to determine the type of defect that occurred and address the responsible party. Because defective products can cause more than one type of injury and, in extreme cases, can even causewrongful death, you should contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible if you are dealing with a defective product that can harm you.
Product liability in California
A product liability lawsuit will focus on the party on which the fault can be attributed. This means that the attorney will have to analyze the distribution chain, starting with the manufacturer of the product (or a part of it), the wholesaler, the retail store that sold the product and/or any individual involved in the assembly or installation of the product. Each product liability case for defective products is different, but our personal injury attorneys in Los Angeles will analyze the case and help you make a solid claim.
As an injured party, our attorneys will help you prove that you have been injured by the product and, at the same time, that the product was defective or it lacked the proper warnings or instructions for use. Cases in which the injured party was not using the defective product for its intended purposes cannot be sustained in court because the manufacturer is only required to make the product safe for a reasonable, specific purpose.
The following video presented by our Los Angeles personal injury attorneys summarizes the main issues related to defective products claims:
Compensation for defective products
When filing a lawsuit that concerns product liability, you have to consider the specific amount of time during which you can make the claim. In California, it is known as the statute of limitation and for injuries, the law stipulates that the time period during which you may sue is two years from the date of the injury.
The types of compensations you can get for injuries caused by a defective product include compensatory damages for medical expenses and damage to your property or punitive damages for emotional suffering caused by the accident. For defective products, the most common types of compensations will be compensatory ones.
Defective manufacturing as a cause of car accidents
Defective tires, a malfunctioning breaking system or airbag failure are just some examples of how a vehicle may present issues of which the driver was simply unaware of.
Mechanical failure and defective equipment are often pinned on the company that produces the parts, however, the driver also has the responsibility to inspect the car and perform the car maintenance as requested. If this is not an issue in the particular case and the driver can prove that he has done all that was necessary to prevent the malfunction, then the liability for the accident can be attributed to the manufacturing company. In some cases, it may be necessary to determine negligence along the line of production, as there are more parties involved in the manufacturing of a vehicle.
Determining liability is important in vehicle accidents that have not been caused by drivers but by faulty mechanical equipment. In this case, the plaintiff, together with his personal injury attorney, should explore one of the possible options:
-negligence: the manufacturer or dealer failed to utilize reasonable care;
-fraud: the manufacturer or dealer intentionally concealed the defect;
-breach of warranty: when the stated warranty claim is breached.
Although vehicle accidents caused by defective equipment are not as common as those caused by driver negligence it is important for plaintiffs to know that when the equipment does fail, they can claim compensations. An important aspect to consider is the manner in which the owner of the car used a specific equipment or part. In some cases, the defendant may claim that the equipment was not used as intended and thus reduce the value of the claim.
Plaintiffs should know that any personal injury case in California has a statute of limitations of two years from the date of the accident. Cases brought to court after this two-year period are more likely to be rejected.
Compensations for car accident injuries
Individuals injured in car accidents can suffer a number of types of injuries, from mild ones that are not life-threatening, to severe ones that can completely alter their way of life from then on. Traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries that can also mean paralysis are examples of such very unfortunate cases.
These catastrophic injuries, as they are often referred to, are the ones that are settled for the largest amount of compensation, particularly in court. A Los Angeles personal injury attorney is able to help you throughout the trial and any legal hurdles you may be facing after going through such a life-altering event.
The elements of product liability
The three basic elements of a product liability claim are essential for making a strong case. These are:
- the injury was directly caused by the product/ by using it;
- the product was indeed defective;
- you were properly using the product.
The latter is an essential condition. Lack thereof may mean that your case is a shared fault one. In some exceptional circumstances using defective or malfunctioning products can be a cause of death. One of our Los Angeles personal injury attorneys can help you if a loved one was killed in an accident caused by using a defective product such as a vehicle.
Injuries caused by dangerous products
Products and devices have the potential of becoming unsafe if used improperly or if the manufacturer failed to specify the conditions under which the product can be dangerous for the user. Individuals who have been injured by using a product that should have been safe and was advertised this way have the right to file a lawsuit against the producer of merchandiser who should have paid attention to the safety recommendations.
Machinery and tools, motor vehicles, recreational equipment or toys and even medical devices and products can prove to be dangerous. The user should be well informed about the risks associated with any commercialized products.
In this type of lawsuit, the defendant will sometimes be able to use a rule called comparative negligence. This means that the plaintiff, the victim, can also be accused that he or she contributed to the accident-event if this contribution has a small degree on the outcome of the accident. It is important to discuss your personal injury case with an L.A. personal injury attorney. An expert will be able to look at the evidence and assess whether or not the defendant can also make negligence claims against you.
Product liability in California
Product liability cases are based on proving that the product had a defect that became dangerous for the user. These defects can be divided into manufacturing defects or design defects. The latter have the potential of affecting more customers because they extend to the products in an entire line.
Product liability cases are quite common, but the good news is that being regulated by the law, there are many ways in which this type of personal injuries can be proved in a court of law in the state of California and our Los Angeles personal injury attorneys can assist in. If you are in the position to file a claim in a product liability case, you should know that you can use both the liability and the negligence of the producer to make your case.
What do you need to prove in a personal injury caused by defect products case?
No matter the grounds, the victim will be helped to gather all the evidence for their case and prove that the product did not meet the safety requirements as imposed by the law. During the case, our lawyers will demonstrate the product is dangerous because it has inflicted a wound or has damaged the property of the plaintiff. Our attorneys will also show how the product has caused loss of a significant amount of money, if that is the case.
Liability for a defect product in a personal injury case
When taking a case to court is very important to determine the party the claim will be filed against. The party can be:
the manufacturer who produced certain components in the product at fault;
the wholesaler or the distributor;
a third party who installed or assembled the product.
No matter the case, it is important to know that after the accident, you should contact a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. You should also keep any receipt and warranty of the defective product which will be considered important evidence when arguing the case.
Marc Y. Lazo is specialized in personal injury cases as well as in complex business and commercial litigation. He has tried numerous cases to successful verdict and has obtained multiple six-figure judgments in both state and federal court.