You never expect to suffer injuries after using a product. So, when it happens, you can be left with many questions, including wondering who is responsible for your injuries. If your injuries are due to a defective or harmful product, you may be eligible for compensation from the at-fault party. An Orange County personal injury attorney can help you build your defective product case and fight for the compensation you need to recover.
How Do I Know Who Was at Fault in a Defective Product Case?
It is not always clear who is responsible when a product defect leads to an injury. Depending on the type of defect, the responsible person could be any of the following:
- The designer
- The manufacturer
- The product builder
- The retailer
Attorneys can usually determine who is at fault for a defective product injury by evaluating the type of injury and how it occurred.
Types of Product Defects
Product defects are usually due to one of the following:
- Defects with the design: A design defect occurs when the design of a product makes it unsafe.
- Defects with the manufacturing: A manufacturing defect occurs when the product is not manufactured in a method that makes the product safe.
- Wrongful claims or failure to warn of dangers: Wrongful claims or failure to warn customers of potential dangers can lead to improper use of the product. When consumers are not aware of the potential risks, they can experience injuries.
A product liability lawyer can help you determine who is responsible for your injuries and compensatable damages.
Important Steps to Take Following a Defective Product Injury
If you or a loved one experienced injuries due to a defective product, these steps could help you protect key evidence and begin filing a case.
- Seek medical care immediately: It is essential to not only have evidence of your injury, but seeking immediate medical care helps to protect your safety and wellbeing.
- Collect evidence: Begin to collect evidence as soon as possible. This includes medical records and employment records.
- Hold onto the product: If possible, securely store the product in a safe place. The defective product may become an essential part of your case.
- Reach out to a defective product lawyer: California law limits the time you can file a product liability case to just two years from the injury date, so it is crucial to reach out to a lawyer as soon as possible. Your defective product lawyer can also help you report the dangerous product. Reporting the defective product ensures that the manufacturer is aware of the defects and can take the proper steps to issue a recall if one is needed.
Product liability is covered under strict liability laws. This means that if a defective product causes injury, whether or not the manufacturer took necessary precautions during production is not relevant. Laws dictate that it is the manufacturer’s responsibility to inspect products and ensure that they are safe.
Understanding California’s Product Liability Laws
Because there are no federal laws regarding defective products, state laws will dictate when, and how, you can file a claim. Most states, including California, do follow the federal Uniform Commercial Code. The UCC product laws are necessary to protect users from injury based on negligence or defective parts.
In California, a defective product is described as a product that differs from its original design or other products in the same line. According to the Supreme Court of California, a manufacturing defect is a defect that is easily identifiable because the product differs from the planned product or from other products that were produced on the same manufacturing line.
An injury due to user misuse is not considered defective. While the manufacturer’s responsibility is to notify consumers of any potential risks, it is not their duty to ensure that the product is used as specified.
What is Considered Defective?
To be considered a defective product, the product in question must present unnecessary harm to users. This would not include items that are inherently or expectedly dangerous, such as sharp knives. However, items that carry some degree of risk need to have the proper warnings in the product directions.
Defective products fail to serve their intended purpose. They lack the product’s intended quality or functionality, and when they lead to injuries, the manufacturer may be liable for any damages.
Defective products are usually one of the following:
- Products designed with a flaw
- Products manufactured with error
- Products that come with inadequate instructions or lack warning labels
Product designers and manufacturers have a duty of care to provide consumers with safe products for use.
Proving Liability in a Defective Product Case
Unlike personal injury claims, laws do not require defendants to prove negligence in a product liability case. Instead, you must demonstrate the following elements:
- The defendant designed, manufactured, marketed, or sold a defective product
- The product was defective when it left the responsible party
- The plaintiff used the product properly
- The defective product was responsible for the injuries
Your legal team will help you build a case that proves each of these elements.
What Type of Compensation Can I Purse Following a Defective Product Injury?
Defective product injuries can lead to many costs. In addition to medical bills, you may need to take time off from work to recover. Fortunately, California laws allow you to seek compensation for economic and non-economic costs following a defective product injury.
Economic costs include damages that have a value, including medical bills and any associated property damages. Non-economic costs include damages that are more difficult to value, like diminished earning capacity and pain and suffering.
What is a Class-Action Lawsuit?
When a defective product injures more than one individual, that group of individuals may decide to file a class-action lawsuit. If the court awards compensation, it will be split among all members.
Reach Out to a California Product Liability Lawyer Today
When you have questions about a defective product injury, it can be helpful to reach out to a product liability lawyer today. Each product liability case is different, so it is important to discuss yours with an experienced lawyer. If you or a loved one is dealing with injuries due to a defective product, reach out to us today.