Los Angeles Product Liability Lawyer
As a consumer, you use many different products on a daily basis. You may make your coffee in the morning, take certain medication, and then get into your car to go to work. All of these are products, and when you use them, you never expect to become hurt. Unfortunately, defective and flawed products are regularly released onto the marketplace. When they are, they cause some of the most serious injuries.
If you or someone you love has been injured by a defective product, you likely have the right to recover compensation for your injuries. This compensation can include medical expenses, lost wages, and more. Going up against big manufacturers and the teams of lawyers who represent them is never easy. You need one of our Los Angeles product liability lawyers at Personal Injury Legal Group on your side fighting for you.
Product Liability Cases
Corporations bear the responsibility of ensuring that their products are reasonably safe, particularly when those products are being used for their stated purpose. When a product causes harm to a consumer, the following circumstances may justify a product liability case:
Faulty Products — Whenever you purchase a product, you have every right to expect that, so long as you use the product as intended, per written instruction and as stated in all advertising, you will not be harmed. Sadly, whether unwittingly or intentionally, manufacturers do send faulty products out into the marketplace. When this happens, public harm can result ranging from bodily injuries to serious illnesses, and even death.
Defective Designs — an example of a defective product design is an SUV that has been rolling over under certain traffic and weather conditions because of a poorly positioned center of gravity. Another example is if the roof of a home collapsed as a result of an ill-conceived roof support design.
Manufacturer Defects — Examples of a manufacturer defect might include the premature breakage of a metal hip due to a flawed or substandard manufacturing process or an outbreak of salmonella resulting from the contamination of a food manufacturing plant.
Machine-Related Product Defects — Machines are designed to improve production efficiency in work settings but a defective machine can also cause significant workplace injuries including crushed or severed limbs, serious burns, skin irritations, blindness, or a loss of hearing.
The type of evidence collected and the arguments that will be used to present your case will be based on the type of product liability you experienced. That is why it is essential to have a highly experienced personal injury product liability attorney who understands the best approach for your unique product liability case. Fortunately, our legal team is qualified to handle all types of product liability suits. We are also very familiar with the standard defense tactics that product manufacturers use to present and defend their cases so we are skillfully prepared to rebut their defense strategy.
How are Products Defective?
Under the law, there are three main ways a product can be defective. These include:
- Defective design: A product that has a defective design is flawed even before it is manufactured. For example, if a child’s car seat did not include a seat belt in the design, the product is going to be inherently defective, even if there are no errors made during the manufacturing process.
- Defective manufacturing: A product that has defective manufacturing may have a valid design, but an error occurs during the manufacturing process. Using the same car seat example as above, the product may be properly designed, but during the manufacturing process, the seat belt may not be included as part of the seat. This would make the seat very dangerous for a child, and so the product is considered defective.
- Failure to warn: Sometimes, products are inherently dangerous. Even a child’s car seat, which is meant to keep children safe, can pose a danger in certain situations. When this is the case with certain products, manufacturers have a duty to warn customers about any danger associated with their product. For example, it is very dangerous to place an infant car seat in the front of a vehicle, and manufacturers should warn people to only install them in the back seat.
It is not only manufacturers who can be held liable for defective products. Anyone in the supply chain can also be held liable for negligent behavior. For example, if a seller of a product did not store or handle it properly, they can also be held liable if it caused the product to be defective.
Common Types of Defective Products
There are many different types of products that can be defective or flawed. The most common of these are as follows:
- Defective tires
- Defective trucks, cars, and other vehicles
- Defective machinery
- Defective fire extinguishers
- Defective e-cigarettes
- Defective press machines
- Defective electronics
- Dangerous baby loungers
- Defective medical devices
- Defective child products
- Defective tools
- Defective drugs
How to Determine if a Product is Defective?
Sometimes, products stop working or break down. This does not automatically mean that the product is defective. People who do not have experience in this area of law often cannot determine on their own if they have a product liability case. Generally speaking, if you used the product as it was intended and you were injured after it broke due to anything other than improper use or normal wear and tear, you may have a valid product liability claim.
The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission has a list of products that have been recalled, news releases, and safety education materials so consumers can stay informed about the different products that are considered defective and pose a safety hazard. If the product you were using has been recalled and appears on the list, it can strengthen your claim because the manufacturer has admitted that there are safety flaws. Not every defective product will appear on this list, so it is still important to speak to one of our attorneys at Personal Injury Legal Group if you have been hurt.
The Law on Product Liability in California
To protect consumers, California has enacted many product liability laws. One of these is that you must have a basis for liability. To have a basis for liability, the defect must fall into one of the three categories outlined above. You must also prove the manufacturer was at least partly responsible for your injuries because they created a defective product.
Unlike in other personal injury cases, you are not required to prove the manufacturer was negligent when filing a claim. Product liability cases are considered strict liability. This means you must only prove that a product was defective and that you sustained injuries as a result.
Comparative Fault in Product Liability Cases
Comparative fault plays a role in many personal injury cases. Under this law, multiple people can be responsible for an accident. When that is the case, each negligent party is assigned a percentage of fault, and if they are awarded damages, the compensation is reduced by their same percentage of fault.
For example, you may have suffered serious burns after igniting a defective gas grill. A jury may award you $100,000 in damages for your injuries. However, the jury may also find that you were partly to blame for the negligent lighting of the grill and find you 30% to blame for your injuries. Thirty percent would then be deducted from your overall damages, meaning you would only receive $70,000.
Defendants in personal injury cases often try to argue the accident victim was at fault to reduce the total amount of damages they are liable for paying. It is important to work with an attorney who can refute these claims and help you obtain the full and fair compensation to which you are entitled.
California follows a pure model of comparative fault law. This means that even if you were 99% at fault for an accident, you can still file a claim for damages.
The Statute of Limitations in Product Liability Cases
All personal injury cases, including product liability claims, are governed by a statute of limitations. This dictates the amount of time you have to file your claim. In most cases, you have only two years to file a claim after being hurt by a defective product. The law on the statute of limitations is quite strict, but there are exceptions to it. For example, if you did not discover your injuries right away, you have two years from the date you discovered, or the date you should have discovered, your injuries to file a claim.
It is critical that you file your claim before the statute of limitations expires. If you wait too long, the courts and the insurance company will likely throw out your claim, and you will no longer have any right to recover financial compensation. Many people think two years is a long time, but it is not. Before your claim is filed, a lawyer must conduct a full investigation and collect evidence that proves your case. These steps are critical to helping you obtain the full and fair damages you deserve, but they take time. Due to this, if you have been hurt, you should speak to a Los Angeles product liability lawyer as soon as possible.
Product Liability and Class Action Claims
When a line of products is defective, many people use them, and many people become hurt. All of these individuals may have the right to sue the manufacturer for damages, and they may all join a class action suit. In a class action lawsuit, a group of people sues the same defendant, but only one member represents the group of plaintiffs. Still, if damages are awarded, they are distributed among all the plaintiffs in the class. The class action brought against General Motors after their ignition switch recall is one of the most popular examples of a class action lawsuit.
It is not easy to determine whether you should join a class action lawsuit or file a separate claim on your own. If the same product has caused similar injuries to other people, it may be worthwhile to join a class action lawsuit. On the other hand, if your injuries are unique and there are no similar stories as yours, a class action lawsuit may not be the best choice. Filing a claim on your own is likely the better choice in these situations. A lawyer can advise on which legal avenue is the best route for your case.
At Personal Injury Legal Group, our Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorneys Also Focus on the Following Practice Areas:
- Car Accidents
- Bicycle Accidents
- Bus Accidents
- Catastrophic Injuries
- Commercial Vehicle Accidents
- Construction Accidents
- Pedestrian Accidents
- Train Accidents
- Slip & Falls
- Motorcycle Accidents
- Uber & Lyft
- Wrongful Death
- Trucking Accidents
- Sports Injury
- Cruise Ship Accidents
How Much Is My Case Worth?
Opportunities to recover damages in product liability suits can include:
- Past, present, and future medical expenses
- Physical and emotional pain and suffering
- Losses to income including wages, commissions, and bonuses
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Compensatory death benefits (in the event of wrongful death)
- Punitive damages (punishing companies for excessive misconduct)
The dollar value of your case will depend on many factors which include the extent of your damages and the preponderance of evidence against the defective product manufacturer. Additional considerations include whether your claim is part of a larger class action lawsuit. Generally, our experienced product liability attorneys will provide you with a reliable estimate of your case value upon you’re your request.
Why Choose Personal Injury Legal Group?
Personal Injury Legal Group works with a team of nationally recognized law firms that are highly experienced, knowledgeable, and focused on securing maximum settlements involving product liability cases. We are dedicated to ensuring your product liability claim is handled with the highest standards of legal service excellence.
Personal Injury Legal Group headquarters are located in Los Angeles with additional offices throughout California. Since 1999, we have been serving clients nationwide, with a concentration in Southern California counties including Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Orange, San Diego, Kern, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Imperial. We also serve Northern California counties of San Francisco, Alameda, Marin, Sacramento, San Mateo, Solano, San Joaquin, Santa Clara, Contra Costa, Napa, Yolo, and Sonoma.
Our Product Liability Lawyers in Los Angeles Can Protect Your Rights
You have the right to use products and to know that they will not hurt you. At Personal Injury Legal Group, our Los Angeles product liability lawyers know that, unfortunately, this does not always happen. We are not intimidated by big manufacturers and have the necessary experience to go up against them and secure the full and fair compensation to which you are entitled. Call us now at 310-388-4306 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.
Frequently Asked Questions for Los Angeles Product Liability
What types of products can be subject to product liability in California?
Any type of product, including consumer goods, medical devices, and vehicles, can be subject to product liability.
What are the legal grounds for a product liability claim in California?
A product liability claim can be based on strict liability, negligence, or breach of warranty.
What is strict liability in product liability cases?
Strict liability in product liability cases means that the manufacturer or seller of a defective product is liable for any injuries or damages caused by the product, regardless of whether they were negligent.
What is negligence in product liability cases?
Negligence in product liability cases means that the manufacturer or seller failed to exercise reasonable care in designing, manufacturing, or selling a product, which resulted in injuries or damages.
What is breach of warranty in product liability cases in California?
Breach of warranty in product liability cases means that the manufacturer or seller failed to fulfill the promises or warranties made about the product, which resulted in injuries or damages.
Who can be held liable in a product liability case?
The manufacturer, distributor, and seller of a product can all be held liable in a product liability case in California.
What is the “discovery rule” in product liability cases in California?
The “discovery rule” in product liability cases means that the statute of limitations does not begin to run until the plaintiff discovers, or should have discovered, the injury caused by the defective product.
Can I file a product liability claim if I was injured by a used product?
Yes, you can file a product liability claim if you were injured by a used product in California, as long as the defect existed when the product was sold.
Can I file a product liability claim if I altered the product in some way?
In some cases, altering the product may prevent you from filing a product liability claim in California.
Personal Injury Legal Group
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