Product Liability

Consumers assume that the products they buy will not harm them in any way. But, manufacturers, retailers, and designers can often make mistakes that lead to dangerous product defects. If you have been injured by a defective product, you may be able to file what is called a product liability claim to hold the manufacturer, retailer, or designer accountable. Product liability claims are among the most complex personal injury cases, which is why you need an experienced attorney on your side.

Categories of Product Defects

There are three different categories of product defects, and it’s important to identify which type of defect led to your injuries so you know who to hold liable. The three categories are:

Design
In some cases, the defect is in the design of the product. This means that there is a flaw in the design that makes the product dangerous. In California, the court will often use a risk/benefits test to determine if the product’s designer should be held liable for injuries. This test looks at whether the risk of danger caused by the design outweighs the benefits of the design. If it does, then the designer may be held liable for injuries caused by this defect.

The court may also use the consumer expectation test to determine if there is a design defect. This means if the product failed to perform as safely as an ordinary customer would expect the product to perform, it may have a design defect.

Manufacturing
Products that are designed without defects may become defective during the manufacturing process. In this case, the manufacturer would be held liable for any injuries that occurred as a result of a manufacturing error.

Labeling
Manufacturers have a legal obligation to warn consumers of any potential dangers associated with using a product. If manufacturers fail to label their products with appropriate warnings, they could be held liable for any injuries that occur as a result.

It’s important to note that you may not be able to hold the designer, manufacturer, or retailer liable for your injuries if you were not using the product in a way that it was intended to be used at the time of the accident.

Filing A Product Liability Claim

There are certain elements that must be proven in every product liability case, including:

  • The product was unreasonably dangerous.
  • The plaintiff sustained an injury.
  • The injury occurred as a result of the product’s defect.

California has a strict liability rule in place for product liability cases. This means the victim does not have to prove that negligence played a role in the case. For example, a victim who was injured by a manufacturing defect would not have to prove that the manufacturer’s negligence led to the defect. Instead, the victim would only have to prove that the defect existed and that it caused his or her injuries.

If you can, take pictures of your injuries and the defective product so you can prove what happened. For example, if a product caught fire and you burned yourself as a result, take pictures of the burns and the charred product.

Comparative Negligence

If you were partly to blame for your injuries, you may still be able to file a product liability claim, however your settlement may be affected. California is a pure comparative negligence state. What does this mean? Let’s say you are found to be 25% responsible for your injuries, and the product’s manufacturer is found to be 75% responsible. If you are awarded a $10,000 settlement for your injuries, you will not receive 25% of it because you were 25% responsible for your injuries. This means you will only receive $7,500, or 75%, of the settlement.

Legal Representation For Defective Product Victims

No one ever expects to buy a product that will end up causing them harm, but that’s exactly what happens when a product has a defect. If you have been injured by a defective product, contact Carpenter, Zuckerman, and Rowley to review your case and discuss your legal options.

The information contained on this page is for informational purposes only and is not to be considered a substitute for advice from a qualified attorney. If you require legal assistance, we highly recommend you speak to a qualified attorney. By reading this post, you agree this information is for informational use only and agree to hold Carpenter, Zuckerman, & Rowley harmless for any losses or damages as a result of this information. For more information view our full disclaimer.