Every year, millions of Americans are injured in accidents where a product defect or failure is the causative factor. Some famous cases have been widely publicized, such as the recent Takata air bag product failures in Honda, Toyota, Nissan and other vehicles. Those defective products injured or killed passengers and drivers when the air bags exploded and released shrapnel into the air.
Each state has its own rules and regulations that apply to product liability. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in an accident that may have been caused because of a product defect or failure, be sure to work with an experienced California Product Liability Attorney. This legal professional knows the current state Product Liability laws and court systems, so they are best able to provide you with optimal results. Remember also, that time is of the essence; delays will only jeopardize your case potential.
California Product Liability Attorney
Since the state laws that apply to product liability are so complex and detailed, a California Product Liability Attorney is the best resource to consult with and for obtaining the legal advice and representation you need. An experienced Product Liability Attorney knows what materials are needed to win a case. They will have an excellent record of previous wins and have many different expert witnesses to bring on board as needed.
Your California Product Liability Attorney understands the complex Personal Injury Laws of California that apply to these cases. There are many variations and types of defects and failures included in these regulations. Another element that must be considered is the matter of fault and if there is any part of the accident that could be attributed to actions made by the victim. California is a pure comparative fault state, which means that if someone contributed to the accident occurrence in any way, the award could be reduced by that percentage of fault.
California Product Liability Accidents
Product liability is a legal concept that defines responsibility and places liability for mistakes upon a designer, producer, seller, installer or user of a product. The basic thought is that the consumer should be able to expect that products they purchase, rent or use will be safe to use. Those products should not cause injury due to defective design, manufacturing or assembly. In addition to placing liability upon the maker of products, the law also includes those who assemble, install, wholesale and resell products.
For example, people believe that when they are driving or riding in a vehicle, that vehicle will remain a safe mode of transport. They need to have confidence that parts like steering, brakes, tires, seatbelts, air bags and the basic structure of that vehicle will not fail and cause them harm or death. If a construction worker needs to climb a ladder, they should be able to do so without the ladder rungs breaking, resulting in a potentially dangerous or fatal fall.
When accidents do happen, reports are compiled and manufacturers are supposed to issue a recall and fix or replace defective parts to protect the public consumer. Under certain circumstances, injury victims are allowed to seek fair compensation for their injury accident that is due to product defect or failure. In addition, the state or a jury may set forth punitive penalties in addition to other compensation that is awarded to injured persons. Class actions lawsuits include multiple victims and can result in very large awards, up to billions of dollars.
Product Defects and Failures
There are multiple types of product defects or incidences of failures that have cause harm to millions of people. Several recent cases that received widespread publicity because of the size of the case and awards include the following:
- Blitz gas cans – would explode when used to pour gas to start a fire. $4 million per claim, 30+ cases; company closed.
- McDonald’s Coffee – Liebeck V. McDonald’s 1994; burn case, award $2.7 million punitive damages and $160,000 medical expenses.
- Remington rifle models 700 and 710 – faulty fire control system, caused rifle to fire even when trigger wasn’t pulled – release latch easily released when rifle was simply bumped or jarred. $15 million award in 1994.
- Ledraplastic balancing ball – 2009 case – ball burst causing injuries to professional basketball player Francisco Garcia of the Sacramento Kings. He suffered a fractured right arm, could not play first the four months of his contract; both sued and won $4 million in lost salaries and $29.6 million in damages.
- Toyota cars – 2010 – massive recall – safety feature “brake to idle fail safe” not installed in many cars; increased chance of accident when accelerator malfunctioned. $1.1 billion to settle.
Defects or failures can be traced back to flaws, omissions, errors or negligence in several areas of production or use of a product. The problem can occur in design, manufacture, marketing, installation or use. Your California Product Liability Attorney may seek compensation from multiple parties who are deemed to be at fault for accident injuries or a death from product failure.
Personal Injury Compensation
The maximum amount of Personal Injury Compensation that can be received in a settlement or court award is controlled by the state. They have caps on certain types of awards. When you work with a California Product Liability Attorney, you have a much better chance of obtaining higher compensation than if you do not seek their legal advice and representation.
The amount and percentage of fair compensation you may receive is also in part determined by fault. If you somehow contributed to the accident, your award can be reduced. Fair compensation can include repayment for accident-related expenses and future expected expenses that are calculated by your attorney and their expert witnesses. They have the knowledge to estimate work losses, future medical costs and other expenses that occur with product defect or failure accidents.
Responsibility Issues and Liability
Responsibility issues include who is at fault and who is liable. Some points that can be used in a defense against a consumer product liability lawsuit include California pure comparative fault rules. An injured person does not need to prove a product is defective; they do need to show that their injuries were due to that defect and that they were using the product as intended. This gets into some very tricky territory that an experienced Product Liability Attorney can deal with successfully. Arguments against a consumer plaintiff may include misuse of the product, failure to follow directions, and deliberately altering the product.
Breach of Warranty is another element that may be used to win a case. If the product does not live up to a warranty, fails to perform as promised, or lacks sufficient warnings of potential hazards, there may be a case to win. Even if there are warnings on a product, an attorney can argue that those warnings were not adequate to prevent injury to the user.
As you can see, there are many complexities to California Product Liability regulations. If you have been injured due to a defective product or product failure, or have had a loved one die in such an accident, get the legal advice, counsel and representation you need from an experienced California Personal Injury Attorney who has won many Product Liability cases.
An understanding attorney will work closely with you from the moment you ask for their representation. If you are unable to communicate, they can work with your family or legal representative. Fees are usually charged on a contingency basis, with no large payments due until your case is won and you receive monetary compensation. Do not delay is seeking legal help to gain fair compensation for your injuries and losses. There is a two year limit to file personal injury claims in California, and only six months if you are filing against a governmental agency.