Each year in the U.S., thousands of people suffer serious injuries because of products that are defective. There are certain rules that are in place in California regarding who is at fault when defective products cause injuries to people. An experienced San Jose product liability lawyer may use a combination of skill and legal knowledge to help you to navigate these complex rules so that you might recover compensation for your economic and non-economic losses.
What is product liability?
Product liability refers to the liability of a seller, designer or manufacturer for placing defective products in the marketplace. Every entity in the chain of distribution is considered to be responsible for injuries that are caused by defective products. Products are defective when they injure people who are using them as they are intended. Products are supposed to meet the reasonable expectations that consumers have of them. When they instead contain unexpected dangers that cause injury, everyone in the distribution chain may be liable.
Common types of product liability cases
There are three primary types of product liability cases, including the following:
- Design defects
- Manufacturing defects
- Warning or labeling defects
Products that most commonly lead to injuries that form the basis of product liability claims include the following:
- Medical devices
- Motor vehicles
- Children’s products
- Household products
- Machinery and other equipment
Design defects involve products that have designs that are inherently dangerous rather than an error that was caused in the manufacturing process. An example of this type of design defect might include a product that is structurally unstable and prone to tipping over. Manufacturing defects are errors that are made during the manufacturing process. Warning or labeling defects occur when inadequate warnings are included with the product that fail to warn about an inherent danger that it contains.
Common types of injuries that result from defective products
Many different injuries can be caused by defective products, depending on the type of product and its defect. For example, a motor vehicle that has a defective airbag may cause serious chemical burns to car occupants. A car with defective brakes may cause accidents that can injure or kill the driver and other motorists. Defective drugs may cause death or debilitating conditions. Children’s products such as toys might be choking hazards. In some cases, they may contain lead and cause neurological problems.
How to establish fault in product liability claims
In order to establish liability in a product liability claim in California, the plaintiff will need to prove his or her case under one of the three primary theories, including design defects, manufacturing defects, or inadequate warnings. In design defect cases, the courts use a risk vs. benefit analysis. If the design of the product was so inherently dangerous that it outweighed the potential benefits, the product’s design will be considered to be defective. Most manufacturing defect claims are filed under a theory of strict liability. Strict liability allows injured victims to recover compensation when there was a manufacturing defect that caused their injury without having to prove negligence. Inadequate warnings cases normally involve failures to warn about a danger that is inherent in a product.
When you should contact a San Jose product liability lawyer
In California, personal injury cases arising from product defects must be filed within two years of the date of your injury. It is important for you to contact a lawyer as soon as possible, however. Getting legal help early can help you by giving you more time to build a strong case that shows liability.
Why you should contact an experienced San Jose product liability attorney
Product liability cases can be highly complex and require the help of experts. Experienced San Jose product liability lawyers may work closely with experts in order to establish that the defect exists. They are also able to counter the common defenses that companies use in product liability claims. Contact our office today to schedule your appointment.