If you’ve been injured or lost a loved one due to a defective product, you may be wondering if you could claim compensation. In California, our product liability laws hold manufacturers responsible if their products cause injuries. However, claiming compensation in a product liability case can be extremely challenging, especially with the need to prove the unreasonable danger of the item.
Get the help of an experienced product liability attorney from Gavel Law Firm. We are trusted in the Inland Empire due to our excellent track record of representing injured clients against well-resourced companies and their insurers. With our background in the insurance industry, we strategically pursue full compensation for our clients, even in difficult, highly disputed cases.
Your consultation with Gavel Law Firm is free, and we won’t charge you anything until we win for you. Schedule your no-cost consultation by calling (951) 289-0202 today.
What is Products Liability in California?
Products liability, sometimes called product liability, is the responsibility of product makers to make their outputs reasonably safe for any typical user. If their product is defective in any way and causes injury to a user, the product maker could be liable to pay for the victim’s losses.
If you are an injured user, you may seek compensation by filing a personal injury lawsuit on the grounds of product liability. In this lawsuit, you can expect to face companies like the product manufacturer or retailer, as well as their insurers and legal teams. It’s best to have a reliable attorney on your side to guide you and represent you in this challenging case.
Proving Product Liability: Negligence Vs. Strict Liability
In California, product liability cases follow either of two legal theories: negligence and strict liability.
In a negligence-based case, the plaintiff (claimant) asserts that the product was dangerous because of the maker’s carelessness or inaction. For example, the manufacturer may have employed untrained staff or failed to meet an industry standard for safety. In such a case, you and your attorney will need to prove that there was indeed negligence along the way.
On the other hand, strict liability cases hold product makers accountable for defective products regardless of what they did or didn’t do. You don’t have to prove any kind of carelessness or inaction. You only have to show that the product has any of these three types of defects:
- Design defect – This means there is an inherent flaw in the way the product was designed, such as when an electric appliance has parts that melt or spark, or when a car airbag’s mechanism prevents it from deploying.
- Manufacturing defect – In some cases, even if a product was designed well, it can still become dangerous if there are errors in manufacturing or assembly. For instance, the factory may have used the wrong material, failed to secure bolts, or incorrectly installed circuitry.
- Marketing defect – If a company knew or should have known of the dangers of their product, they must provide sufficient warnings and instructions to consumers. Failing to warn of potential dangers can be considered inaccurate marketing.
Whether your injury incident is based on negligence or strict liability, it will be a substantial challenge to prove your claim. At Gavel Law Firm, our product liability attorney is experienced in these claims and strategic in asserting each client’s case. Don’t hesitate to speak to us and see how we can assist you.
Examples of Defective Product Injuries in Riverside, California
- Burn injuries – These can be from exploding devices, melting cables, overheating appliances, faulty wiring, and the like.
- Choking – This often happens with toys that have small parts that break off. If swallowed by a child, they can block the child’s airways and lead to life-threatening situations.
- Broken bones – Fractures can occur from a wide variety of defective objects like chairs, ladders, toppling shelves, and more.
- Pharmaceutical injuries – If a person suffers an unreasonably dangerous side effect from their medicine, it may qualify as a defective drug case.
- Drowning or water injuries – These can result from defective floatation devices, diving boards, or pool toys.
- Equipment-related injuries – Power tools, machines, sports gear, gym equipment, inflatable pools, trampolines, and other apparatus can cause serious injuries if they are defective.
- Motor vehicle injuries – Various parts of a car or truck could be dangerously defective, such as faulty brakes, tires prone to blowing out, and airbags failing to inflate. Vehicle accidents often result in traumatic brain injuries (TBI), neck injuries, back injuries, broken limbs, internal injuries, and more.
Note that “defective products” don’t always have to be household items like appliances and toys. This broad term also encompasses hazardous food, medicines, real property, gas and other utilities, pesticides and other chemicals, medical devices, maps and other printed materials, and many others.
Riverside Products Liability: Additional FAQs
What is the statute of limitations for products liability in California?
In Riverside and the rest of California, the statute of limitations for a product liability injury is two years. This means you generally have a two-year time limit, starting from your injury date, to file a lawsuit. Certain conditions may change this timeline, so it’s best to consult a product liability lawyer as soon as you can to avoid missing deadlines.
What is a class action lawsuit on product liability?
A class action lawsuit is one that is filed on behalf of multiple plaintiffs (claimants) harmed by the same defendant. It could be composed of a few dozen claimants or thousands of them. They will all have similar claims on the same product made by the same company, and if successful in their suit, the verdict or settlement will compensate each of them.
Some well-known class action lawsuits on product liability are the ignition switch case against General Motors (2014) and the silicone breast implant case against Dow Corning (1998).
Do I have to join a class action lawsuit on product liability?
It’s not necessary to join a class action lawsuit for your defective product injury. Whether or not you should join depends on many factors, primarily the strength of your claim. Smaller claims or those involving less-severe injuries may benefit from joining others, while substantial claims around extensive injuries may be best pursued on their own.
You’ll want to consult a defective product attorney to determine the legal avenues best suited to your case.
How common are defective product injuries in the US?
Statistics from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) show that millions of consumer product injuries occur throughout the nation each year. In 2022 alone, these were the products that injured the most consumers:
- Home structures/construction materials – 4 million injuries
- Home furnishings and fixtures – 3 million injuries
- Personal use items – 768,348 injuries
- Household containers – 395,838 injuries
- Home workshop equipment – 300,231 injuries.
What must a plaintiff show to win a product liability case based on negligence?
In a negligence-based product liability case, the plaintiff needs to prove the following elements of negligence:
- Duty of care – that the product maker had a duty to produce items with reasonable care toward consumers
- Breach of duty – that the product maker failed their duty of care
- Causation – that the product maker’s failure directly led to the plaintiff’s injury
- Damages – that the plaintiff suffered losses that must be compensated.
Who can be held liable for a plaintiff’s injuries under the theory of strict products liability?
In a product liability case based on strict liability, any party in the production chain or supply chain could be held liable. These parties may include:
- Parts manufacturer
- Assembly factory
- Prescribing doctors (in cases of drug injuries).
How much can I get in a California product liability case?
This depends on the specific factors in your case. Some notable product liability lawsuits have settled for millions of dollars, but many others have resulted in lower outcomes. There is no ‘standard’ amount of settlement because injuries and circumstances vary widely. To determine the potential value of your case, discuss it with a competent product liability attorney.
Contact a Riverside Product Liability Lawyer from Gavel Law Firm
Numerous Inland Empire residents trust Gavel Law Firm for their injury claims. Our firm is focused on helping Southern Californians get maximum compensation for injuries they suffered. With our advantageous background in the insurance industry, we build solid strategies for each client, helping them get favorable repayments from manufacturers and insurance companies.
Gavel Law Firm will not charge you lawyer fees until we obtain compensation for you. Your initial consultation is also free. Call us now at (951) 289-0202.