Although we trust companies to produce and the system to approve safe products for public use, they don’t always do. But whether it’s a design, manufacture, or distribution error, the responsible parties should be held liable for accidents, injuries, and harm their products cause.
Fortunately, consumers are protected under California law, so they can pursue their rightful compensation with the help of a Riverside product liability attorney at The JLF Firm. We are committed to our clients and work hard to resolve the case with fair compensation. Contact our team before your insurance company to build a solid case.
How is a Product Considered Defective?
A defective or dangerous product poses an unreasonable risk to those who use it as it should. Don’t confuse this with inherently dangerous products like chainsaws. Just because a chainsaw can cause harm to someone doesn’t mean it’s defective. However, it’s considered defective when delivered to users without warning labels or a safety guard.
Common Types of Defective Products
Product defects come in many forms, but they are broadly categorized into three types:
This is when a product is dangerous because of a flaw in its design. Since design defects occur before manufacture, they affect the entire product line instead of a single batch or product. Often, design defects mean manufacturers didn’t do a good job of testing before launching to market. In some cases, the manufacturer could have ignored the design defect.
Some examples of design defects include:
- A product designed for children has choking hazards
- Products like helmets are designed to protect users from impact cracking or breaking from little impact
- Unstable structures like chairs and tables that collapse
- Mechanical defects on trucks and cars
Unlike design defects manufacturing defects affect some product batches instead of the entire product line. This is because the defect happens during manufacturing. It could be the manufacturer was trying to cut costs by using substandard quality materials to make their products or that the products were assembled properly. Alternatively, a product component could be damaged on the manufacturing line or left out.
An example of a manufacturing defect is a car seat belt missing the component that allows the belt to lock securely into place.
This differs from manufacturing and design defects because the product isn’t faulty. Instead, it lacks necessary instructions or warning labels, making it unsafe.
A common example of labeling defects is when pharmaceutical companies fail to add warnings on drug interactions in their medication packaging or leave out the list of possible side effects. Another common example is when heavy machinery or power tools don’t come with safety instructions or kids’ toys lack choking hazards.
How Much Can You Recover for a Product Liability Claim?
The amount of money offered as compensation depends on the damages you suffered. Generally, compensatory damages are split into two categories:
Economic damages are the financial losses you incur from the incident and the injuries sustained. They include current, future, and past expenses. While what is considered varies from case to case, some common damages victims recover from product liability claims include:
- Medical costs
- Ongoing and future life care expenses
- Current, past, and future income lost
- Replacement or repairs to damaged property
- Other costs incurred
If the incident led to the death of a loved one, you can pursue compensation by filing a wrongful death claim. This claim allows you to recover damages sustained from losing your loved one. The damages are on a case-by-case basis but generally include:
- Compensation for your loved one’s lost income
- Funeral costs
- Losses associated with hiring out services your loved one used to handle, like lawn maintenance, childcare, and household chores
Non-economic or general damages are offered as compensation for intangible losses due to the injury. Unlike economic damages, non-economic damages are subjective.
Instead of proving expenditure or lost income through pay stubs or bills, non-economic damages are proved through witness testimony. The testimonies focus on how the incident affected your quality of life.
Examples of non-economic damage include:
- Pain and suffering; this includes physical pain and emotional distress caused by the injuries and treatment.
- Loss of quality of life resulting from depression, embarrassment, anxiety, or humiliation.
- Loss of companionship; compensating partners and family members for losing affection, care, guidance, or emotional support.
Who May be Liable in a Product Liability Case?
Entities that can be held liable for your injuries include:
- The wholesale distributor
- The retailer who sold you the product
- The original manufacturer
- Product designer
- Marketers who pushed for the sale
Determining who to sue and how to handle the litigation process needs guidance from an experienced product liability attorney. Depending on the facts of your case, some of the entities above may seem too removed from the cause of injury. We will assess the case facts and help you decide on the defendants.
Why Do You Need a Product Liability Attorney?
Product liability lawsuits are complex, with defendants trying to disprove your claim. They may claim the injury was caused by negligence; the product wasn’t defective, or even the cause of injury. In such cases, an experienced product liability attorney provides counter-arguments to prove liability and get fair compensation.
As a victim of a faulty or dangerous product, you need trusted guidance from a success-driven firm like The JLF Firm. Our Riverside defective product attorneys are experienced in tackling the complexities of product liability cases. Schedule a consultation with one of our Riverside personal injury attorneys today by calling us at 888-351-2829 or filling out a form here.
FAQs About Product Liability Claims
How long do I have to file a product liability claim in California?
Under the California statute of limitations for product liability, victims have two years from the date of injury to file a product liability claim.
How long does it take to settle a product liability lawsuit in California?
Your product lawyer will best advise on how long the case will take but generally, such cases take one to three months. In some situations, they can go as long as two years.