When you purchase a product you expect that it will be safe to use. Unfortunately, millions of Americans are injured or endangered by defective products each year. Injuries caused by defective products can range from minor scrapes and bruises to paralysis and even death. California has some of the country’s toughest product liability laws and can be used to hold a company financially responsible for putting defective products on the market.
If you have been injured by a defective product, then call San Diego product liability attorney Richard Morse. We understand that an unexpected injury to you or your family can be physically, emotionally, and financially stressful. We will fight to make sure that your rights are protected and that you are fairly compensated for your defective product injuries. Call us today to schedule your free consultation. During this initial meeting, we will review your case, determine potential liability, and answer any questions you have.
Products Liability Laws in California
Strict Liability in Product Liability Cases
When companies design, manufacture, and/or distribute products, they have a responsibility to make sure those items are safe to use. When a product is defective and causes an injury, the company responsible for that defect can be held financially responsible. Unlike most other personal injury cases, product liability cases are not always based on negligence. In addition to liability for negligence, companies can be held strictly liable for injuries caused by their products. This means that if you are injured by a defective product you do not have to prove that the company who designed/manufactured/sold the product was negligent. Instead, you only have to prove that a defect existed, you used the product as intended, and you suffered an injury.
Types of Defective Products
Each product liability case is unique and will our strategy will depend on the type of defect that caused your injury. In California, there are three primary types of defective product cases: manufacturing defects, design defects, and failure to warn. The type of defect that is responsible for your injury will determine what we will have to prove in order to recover compensation on your behalf.
A manufacturing defect exists when a product is not manufactured according to its design. This could be due to technical glitches with machinery or even using the wrong materials to build a product. Manufacturing defects are generally easy to identify, because “a defective product is one that differs from the manufacturer’s intended result” or other “identical units of the same product line. Companies who distribute products that contain manufacturing defects can be held strictly liable for any resulting injuries.
Examples of manufacturing defects include:
- Using the wrong bolts or screws to assemble a product;
- Using outdated or unsafe materials; and
- Failing to trim away hazardous edges.
A design defect exists when a product is harmful because of its design. Design defects often exist because companies use inadequate or unsafe materials or fail to properly calculate important measurements. Cases that may be based on a design defect include:
- Defective airbags;
- Toys designed for young children that are a choking hazard; and
- Using flammable materials to build a product that is likely to get very hot.
Failure to Warn
Today, nearly every product that is available for purchase will have some kind of safety warning. Companies will go to great lengths to warn consumers about potential risks associated with using their products. This is because a company can be held financially responsible for injuries caused by their products if they fail to provide adequate warnings. If you are injured by a product, and were not sufficiently warned that an injury was likely to occur, you may be able to recover damages.
Product Liability Cases We Handle
At Injury Trial Lawyers, APC, our San Diego product liability attorneys have more than 35 years of combined legal experience. During this time, we have helped thousands of injured clients recover millions in compensation for their injuries. This includes compensation for injuries caused by defective products, including defective:
- Vehicles (cars, trucks, motorcycles, scooters, and boats);
- Car parts (tires, seat belts, brakes, and airbags);
- Machinery (drills, nail guns, and saws);
- Consumer products (food, pharmaceuticals, hoverboards, and toys);
- Medical products (mesh, wheelchairs, walkers, and heart monitors); and more.
Damages in a Product Liability Case
What kind of damages can you recover after you are injured by a defective product? The answer will depend on the type(s) of injuries and harms you suffer. Most defective product injury victims will be able to recover both economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are available for victims who suffer verifiable financial losses because of their injury. These damages are awarded to help make up for accident-related costs you have been forced to endure because of your defective product injury. Economic damages are commonly requested in defective product cases to compensate victims for:
- Corrective surgery;
- Nursing care;
- Prescription medication; and
- Medically necessary devices.
If your injury forces to you miss time at work, or significantly affects your ability to generate income, economic damages can be awarded to compensate for these financial losses, as well.
You may also suffer from injuries that cannot be seen by the naked eye, and that do not really cost you anything, financially. This does not mean that these injuries are any less harmful or any less important. Non-economic damages can be awarded to compensate you for these intangible, hard-to-value injuries. Non-economic damages are commonly requested in product liability cases to compensate for:
- Pain and suffering;
- Emotional distress;
- Embarrassment; and
- Loss of enjoyment of life.
Time Limits on Product Liability Cases
If you have been injured by a defective product and want to file a claim for damages you must act quickly. The statute of limitations in your case will begin to run the moment you discover an injury caused by a defective product. You will have two years from the date you learn about your injury to file a product liability lawsuit. If you do not file your claim before the statute of limitations has expired you will likely be prevented from recovering any damages, at all.
Steps to Take After a Defective Product Injury
We understand that an unexpected injury can be overwhelming. You may not know where to turn for help or what steps to take to get the money you desperately need. Here are a few things to keep in mind after your defective product injury. These steps will help to strengthen any product liability claims you decide to pursue in the future.
See a Doctor. If you have been injured by a defective product see a doctor immediately. This will serve two purposes. First, it will help to ensure that you receive all necessary medical treatment. Second, the medical report generated from your visit will be helpful in proving that your injury was caused by the defective product.
Document the Situation. Details are essential to a strong and successful personal injury claim. Take photographs of the defective product, write down the details of the incident that caused your injury, and gather the name(s) and contact information for anyone who may have witnessed the injury. Your attorney will use this information as a foundation for an in-depth investigation into your case.
Call a Lawyer. Product liability cases can be incredibly complex and are best handled by an experienced San Diego attorney. When you hire an attorney to handle your case you have the ability to focus your time, resources, and energy on your own personal recovery. Your attorney will handle the complex legal issues and fight to make sure that you are fairly compensated for your injuries.
San Diego Product Liability Attorneys
Have you been injured by a defective product in San Diego? Contact Injury Trial Lawyers, APC today to find out how we can get you the compensation you need and deserve. Our San Diego product liability attorneys have more than three decades of combined experience and have successfully handled thousands of personal injury claims, including those for defective products. We will aggressively fight to hold responsible companies accountable for their products and maximize the award you receive. Do not hesitate to call us today to take advantage of our free consultation process.