In a world driven by innovation and convenience, we rely on countless products to make our lives easier and more enjoyable. From household appliances to vehicles and medical devices, these products should enhance our quality of life, not jeopardize it.
Unfortunately, when defective products slip through the cracks, they can lead to serious consequences – you or multiple people could get injured. Some injuries may even be fatal.
If you’ve been hurt by a defective product, it’s critical to know your rights and take action. Under California law, whoever is responsible for putting a defective product on the market is also strictly liable – or legally responsible – for any injuries caused by that product. That could cover your medical bills, lost income, physical pain, and emotional distress.
An experienced personal injury lawyer who knows how to handle product liability cases can help you navigate the legal landscape to achieve justice and get the compensation you deserve.
What Legally Makes a Product Defective?
Most products come with some kind of risk – that doesn’t mean all products are defective.
When you drive a car, you know that there’s a risk of getting into a collision. This is a reasonable risk – no matter how many variables you may try to control, it cannot be removed completely. However, it would be an unreasonable risk for your airbag to shatter instead of deploying correctly in a collision. The point of an airbag is to keep you safe – an airbag that increases your risk of injury in an accident is unacceptable.
A product is defective when it is unreasonably dangerous in some way. California law recognizes three types of product defects that can lead to legal claims.
The 3 Types of Product Defects
- A design defect occurs when a product’s inherent blueprint is flawed, making it unreasonably dangerous for consumers. In these types of cases, the defect affects all the units of the product produced under that specific design. These types of defects often lead to class action lawsuits because they affect so many people.
- A manufacturing defect happens during the production process and causes a product to deviate from its intended design. this means that while the product is designed safely, a particular batch or unit was produced incorrectly, making it dangerous.
- A marketing defect is all about communication. Even if a product is designed and manufactured perfectly, it can still be considered defective if it lacks the proper warnings or instructions for consumers to use it safely. Manufacturers must provide clear and accurate information about potential risks and proper product usage.
While many personal injury cases are decided on the basis of negligence, product liability cases usually involve strict liability. With negligence, you have to prove that the cause of your injury was unreasonable in some way. This does not apply to strict liability cases.
When it comes to strict liability, all you have to do is prove that a defect existed and that the defect caused your injuries. It doesn’t matter whether the manufacturer took a perfectly reasonable number of steps in the quality control process to ensure the defect didn’t happen. They are responsible for injuries caused by their products, regardless of their intentions.
Can a Defective Product Result in a Lawsuit?
Yes, absolutely. An experienced product liability lawyer can help you determine if the product that hurt you was defective and what type of defect it has. Based on the circumstances of your case, your attorney can help you put together the evidence you need to prove your case.
Who Can File a Product Liability Claim?
Anyone who’s suffered physical injuries or property damage as a result of a defective product could potentially file a product liability claim. This includes not just the person who purchased the product but also any user or bystander harmed by the product.
For example, in the case of a pressure cooker that explodes, causing burn injuries and significant damage to the kitchen, the person who was using the product could have standing to sue, along with anyone else in the room caught in the blast radius. The homeowner could also sue for the cost of the damage to their property.
Every case is unique, so it’s impossible to know how yours will go without talking to a product liability lawyer who can help you determine the strength and eligibility of your claim.
How Do You Prove a Product Is Defective?
The most important part of a strong product liability claim is evidence. Your lawyer can help you identify which evidence you need to prove your case. This might involve:
- Preserving the product – By keeping the defective product and any packaging or instructions intact just as you received them, you can preserve the conditions of the defect. The product itself is often a vital piece of evidence in liability cases.
- Documenting your injuries – By keeping detailed records of your injuries, medical treatments, therapy appointments, and any related expenses, you can help establish the impact that the product’s defect had on your life.
- Expert testimony – An experienced attorney will know which types of experts to contact to analyze the product and provide insights into its defect.
- Gathering receipts and records – You want to collect and hold onto any receipts, warranties, and relevant documents like communications you’ve had with the product manufacturer’s customer service department, for example.
You may even be able to show multiple instances of the product defect causing injuries. With enough cases, that could add up to a class action that affects millions of people.
What Are Damages for a Defective Product?
When you file a product liability lawsuit, you have the right to demand damages, or financial compensation, to cover the impact that your injuries have had on your life. Essentially, you put the legal and financial responsibility of your injuries onto the company that caused them.
You can recover a settlement or judgment for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering including emotional distress, property damage, and even punitive damages in some cases.
When a defective product disrupts your life and causes you injury, justice demands action – and you don’t have to face this journey alone. A skilled personal injury lawyer can make all the difference in your case. At Sepulveda Sanchez Law, we can help – your consultation is free and you don’t pay us a contingency fee unless we will your case for you. Contact us now.