A San Diego man, along with 9 other California residents, has filed a product liability lawsuit against three retailers who sold an allegedly defective e-cigarette. The man was injured when the vaping device exploded in his pant’s pocket last year, causing him to sustain serious injuries to his leg and genitals. The lawsuit accuses the retail stores of selling products that they knew to be dangerous and potentially defective.
Product Liability Lawsuits
Companies that put dangerous and/or defective products on the market can be held responsible when those products injure their customers. In California, defective product claims can be based on one of a few different legal grounds: design defect, manufacturing defect, or failure to warn.
Design Defect: A design defect exists when a product’s actual design (or blueprint) is inherently dangerous. Examples of design defects can include inaccurate measurements, calling for improper materials, or failing to include a safety feature.
Manufacturing Defect: A manufacturing defect exists when a product’s design is safe, but the product itself is not manufactured according to its specs. Examples of manufacturing defects may include using the wrong materials or forgetting to include a part during construction.
Failure to Warn: A company may be responsible for an injury if they know, or should know, about a danger inherent to the use of the product but fail to warn consumers.
The San Diego man argues that the retailers knew that the vaping device’s design was inherently unsafe, but failed to pass that knowledge along to their customers.
Liability for Defective Products
In California, anyone who designs, manufactures, or sells a defective product can be held strictly liable for any injuries that result. In order to recover damages for his injuries, the plaintiff will have to prove each of the following things:
- The retailer sold the e-cigarette,
- The e-cigarette did not perform safely because of a defect in its design,
- The plaintiff was harmed, and
- The defect was a substantial factor in causing that harm.
The plaintiff can also file a product liability lawsuit based on the retailer’s negligence. There, the plaintiff would have to prove that the retailer knowingly sold a product that was potentially dangerous, and failed to warn the consumers of risks.
Liability for Foreseeable Use
When companies are accused of putting a defective product on the market they have the opportunity to defend themselves against any allegations of negligence or misconduct. When one of the retailers learned about the defective product lawsuit its owner offered a simple explanation for the injuries. “It doesn’t blow up by itself without the customer doing something wrong, in my opinion.”
The retailer will likely argue that no defect exists and that the injury was caused because the consumer misused the product. However, in California, companies that put products on the market must be certain that the products will act safely when used as intended and in any foreseeable way. Even if the consumer used the product in a way that was not intended, the company who is responsible for putting it on the market can still be held strictly liable if those uses were foreseeable. The retailer may be successful if it can prove that the product was negligently altered or misused.
Why File a Product Liability Lawsuit?
There are two great reasons to file a product liability lawsuit. First, filing the lawsuit can allow injured victims to recover money that they need to get better after an unexpected injury. Injuries can be incredibly expensive, limit a victim’s ability to earn an income, and cause irreversible emotional trauma. The damages recovered from a lawsuit can help to compensate for these (and other) harms. Second, filing a product liability lawsuit can help to make sure that companies put safe products on the market. If a company fears a lawsuit, they make take additional steps to make sure that their products are safe. This can help to protect others from suffering the same injuries.
Experienced San Diego Product Liability Attorneys
Have you been injured because of a defective product? Call the San Diego product liability attorneys at Injury Trial Lawyers, APC today to request a free consultation. We can help you hold companies responsible for their dangerous products and get you the money you deserve. You have a limited amount of time to act, so do not hesitate to call us today.