When a person buys a product, they put their trust in the company that sold it to them. They expect for that product to do what it says it is going to do and be safe to use in the capacity that it was intended to be used. When a company betrays that trust, consumers are not only disappointed, they sometimes suffer monetary damages, physical injuries, and even death. When you have lost money, been injured, or lost a loved one due to a defective or dangerous product, you need to contact a personal injury attorney in California.
Different Types of Product Liability Lawsuits
There are several different reasons a consumer may initiate a product liability action against a product manufacturer. You will want to consult with your attorney to find out which category best defines your case.
A design defect claim is different from a manufacturing defect claim, because it charges that the product is fundamentally dangerous based on its design. It does not matter what happened at the manufacturing plant, because the product was doomed from the start.
If the design of the product is unreasonably dangerous, you may have a valid product liability claim. Examples of design defects would include, a gun that is designed to fire without a full pull on the trigger, a car engine that is designed in such a way that it can blow up at any minute, or an airbag that has a better chance of injuring a driver than protecting them.
Remember, a person can sue for design defects, even if they were not a consumer or a direct user of the product, but proving that a design has a defect might require an expert witness. This witness should have a background in product manufacturing. An attorney will often use a similarly designed product to show how a well designed product of the same type should work. Our firm is staffed with legal researchers who can find the expert witness that can make your case as strong as possible.
A Manufacturing defect case charges that something happened at the manufacturing plant to make a safely designed product unsafe, and it is the most common of product liability claim.
For example, if a car is designed to have a driver's side airbag, and the manufacturer forgets to include the airbag in a number of cars, a consumer may sue if injured in an accident where the airbag could have prevented or minimized their injuries.
When an attorney builds a case against a company for a manufacturing defect case, they try to clearly establish that the defect itself caused the injury. This can be harder than it sounds, because it must be proven that the injury was a direct result of the defect and that any other contributing factors were not significant. The Malfunction Doctrine is a type of argument that can be used if a product has been destroyed in an accident. You must also establish that the consumer used the product as it was intended to be used.
Warning or Label Defects
A warning label defect lawsuit occurs when a company failed to include a thorough enough warning on the label of a product. A lot of whether or not a person can sue for a warning or label defect depends upon the state in which they live. In the state of California, the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act requires the state to maintain a list of chemicals and by products that may contain carcinogens. It states that warning labels must be put on any product that contains chemicals that are on this list. The company also has a duty to warn consumers if the use or misuse of their product can harm people.
If a manufacturer of an aerosol product failed to warn consumers to keep the product away from sources of heat or if a manufacturer of edible marijuana candies failed to advise consumers of the amount of cannabis in the candy, this may be grounds for a lawsuit.
Famous Product Liability Lawsuits
From 2002 to 2015 Takata's airbags were installed in several different makes and models of cars. These airbags were recalled after it was discovered that they were exploding on impact, sending fiery shrapnel into the faces of drivers and passengers when they were in a collision.
This famed case started when a woman suffered third degree burns to her thighs when she drank a cup of the hamburger giant's coffee. The coffee was 180 degrees whereas most fast food restaurants serve their coffee at 140. She was awarded over half a million dollars, causing major backlash in the media.
Remington rifles, one of the largest manufacturers of personal weaponry in the world, was sued when one of its hunting rifles proved to have something worse than a hair trigger. The gun fired even when the trigger wasn't pulled. A man in Texas was shot in the foot when he was carrying one of their guns in 1994, prompting him to sue the company.
This popular auto manufacturer was sued when they failed to put their “brake to idle fail safe” in some of their vehicles. The feature is designed to disregard the gas pedal when the brake is pressed, so it would protect drivers if their accelerator was stuck. In spite of the fact that they recalled the product, consumers were still able to sue the company.
When To Contact a Product Liability Attorney
Suing a manufacturer for a product defect is not the same as suing an insurance company for an auto accident. Manufacturers often have very large teams of attorneys that are in no way willing to accept responsibility for their defects. It simply costs them too much money to do so, and opens up the floodgates for future lawsuits.
Contact our experienced product liability attorneys in Orange County to find out what you need to do next to hold your manufacturer responsible. Our legal team will research every element of your claim and prepare a solid foundation for obtaining maximum compensation.