Who Can Claim Product Liability In California?

Updated: Jan 27

A Guide To Filing Claims For Hazardous Defective Products

Unlike road accidents, it's sometimes hard to pinpoint the liable party that caused someone's injury. Getting injured because of a consumer product can even feel like it's your own fault. However, if a product was defective in some way, your injury might not be because of your own carelessness or negligence. That said, let's take a look at Product Liability Claims in California and see if you have enough grounds to file a case.

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People rely on consumer products to complete their jobs and better their lives every day, in every environment imaginable. Under normal circumstances, the vast majority of those consumer products are used and function as intended. There are, however, exceptions.

Defective products may make their way into the marketplace, and they will not function as intended. The cost of these defective products could be restricted to the cost and inconvenience of replacing or repairing them, or they could have more long-term and destructive implications. People may be badly hurt or even killed when a poor automobile tire bursts out at highway speeds, a toddler is exposed to poisonous chemicals from a toy, or a power tool lacks proper cautions for safe use.

When the worst happens, victims of product liability need an experienced California Personal Injury Attorney to fight for their rights and obtain damages from the responsible parties—which could include manufacturers, distributors, and retailers—regardless of how big or powerful those companies are.

What Is Product Liability?

Product liability is a legal term that refers to laws that govern whether products are defective or harmful. Cases involving product liability may differ from those involving ordinary carelessness.

A product is considered "defective" in California if it is not reasonably safe for its intended use due to the presence of one of three types of defects:

  • Defective Manufacturing. Businesses have an obligation to design and build products to the highest standards; even if a company, brand, or distributor does not manufacture its own products, it may be held liable for damages if it can be demonstrated that it was aware of manufacturing defects during the manufacturing process and failed to correct the problem. A manufacturing error might originate from the use of incorrect or defective materials or from flaws in the manufacturing process itself.

  • Examples of Manufacturing Defects Include:

  • Factory defects

  • Defective products that were overlooked by quality control

  • Design Defect. A design defect is defined as a flaw in a product that develops during its development and makes it inherently unsafe, either for its intended use or for usage that a designer should have anticipated. A designer can be held liable for damages if a product is fundamentally unsafe and causes injury to a user.

  • Examples of Design Defects include:

  • Poorly designed smartphones that overheat to a hazardous extent

  • Badly engineered workout equipment

  • Failure to Issue a Warning. If a consumer product is potentially dangerous or could cause injury if used wrongly, the producer or designer must advise users of these risks. Ladder manufacturers and designers, for example, frequently warn users not to utilize the top step of the ladder, lest the user fall and damage himself or herself since the ladder has become unstable.

  • Examples of Failure To Issue Warnings include:

  • Over-the-counter medicine that isn't labeled properly

  • Medicine without a list of side effects

  • Hazardous bathroom cleaning liquids that don't have appropriate warnings

Product liability claims are especially challenging because you normally don't have direct contact with the party liable for your injuries. Unlike car accidents, you don't see who's on the other car, you don't get to easily exchange insurance information with them, and you sometimes don't know if your injuries are caused by their negligence.

If you're unsure about having enough grounds to file claims, contact a California Personal Injury Attorney to handle your case. Not only will your attorney be able to point out the specific type of defect that caused your injuries, but they will also be able to guide you through contacting the liable party or filing claims against them.

Identifying Liability In Defective Product Claims

Now that we've discussed which products are considered defective, the next step is knowing who should be held responsible for the product's injury-causing defects. You need to find the specific party at fault, because otherwise, those who aren't can simply prove to the courts that they have no direct respons